Humans on Earth produce more rubbish today than ever before.

 Print

Recycling Glass

Every year, the average family uses about 500 glass bottles and jars in Britain, the equivalent of nine items a week per household. Glass is infinitely recyclable yet we send millions of tonnes of it a year to landfil sites.

Every tonne of old glass used saves 135 litres of fuel and replaces 12 tonnes of raw materials. Despite these obvious advantages  the UK currently only recycles around 50% of container glass (like bottles and jars) and while this figure has doubled over the last five years it still lags behind other countries. For example, both Switzerland and Finland recycle more than 90% of their glass.

Returnable Bottles

Even more energy is saved if bottles are not melted down but are re-used instead. A collection system already exists for milk bottles which are returned for re-use up to 20 times. Bottles are the easiest containers to re-use and many manufacturers could be using them instead of plastic or metal. Although bottle banks encourage the use of throw-away bottles, in the absence of bottle re-use schemes they are better than nothing.

Action

Set up a project to examine how many different designs of bottles would be needed if all bottles were returned for re-use. Aspects to be taken into consideration would be the viscosity of contents, accessibility, width of neck for pouring, the effect on contents of clear or dark glass, strength of glass, stability, packaging, sealing etc.

Read More: Recycling Metals

Related Resources

Please donate £1 to help YPTE to continue its work of inspiring young people to look after our world.

Donate £1 X