A question we often find ourselves answering is “Why Glass”?
After all, other forms of waste such as plastic, paper, and electronics seem a lot more pressing and a lot more important. They get a lot of media attention- and for good reason! In a world where consumers throw away more than 82 million tons of packaging a year, glass waste seems like the least of our worries.
The problem is that everyone thinks this way. When we founded Mosa, we noticed that there were very few other organizations tackling the problem of glass waste head on. All of the attention, and all of the resources, are going towards other forms of waste, leaving glass as an unexpected issue that’s quickly growing way out of proportion. And if you don’t believe us, glassware makes up over 10 million tons of waste per year in the US alone. This isn’t something we can afford to ignore any longer.
Glass Has a Secret
Beyond just the sheer quantity, we found that glass waste recycling is an area where we, as a student-run and student-staffed organization, could truly make a difference. You see, glass waste isn’t a problem caused by a difficult processing period or hard to recycle material. It isn’t a problem caused by technical challenges or dangerous chemicals, either! It’s a problem caused entirely by consumer knowledge- or lack thereof.
You see, glass has a secret. A secret that we want to share with everyone, far and wide: glass is actually 100% recyclable! There’s no need to take our word for it, however. Just see what Robert Lipetz, director of the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council said: “Glass has an unlimited life, and can be melted and recycled endlessly”. These are strong words! So why is it that such a magical material is only being recycled at 33% of its potential?
We spend a lot of effort recycling other materials such as paper and plastic, even though they are harder to process and more resource intensive to recycle. We’re not asking the world to stop- we’re just asking the world to think about glass, too. Because glass waste isn’t a problem that we can ignore any longer.
Small Steps, Big Impact
Now that you know the secret, you can join us in making a change, too! Glass waste is an easily manageable problem that starts with simply knowing it exists. There’s a lot of confusion around recycling, but all you have to do is place your discarded bottles and jars in the designated recycling bin for curbside collection. Depending on your municipality, you’ll have a different bin that can be colored blue or gray! And if you don’t have one, you can always donate your glass directly to a local recycling agency like Recycle BC. Once you know how to recycle glass, your journey to fighting glass waste has begun!
All it takes is a few simple steps to make a big impact, steps that we can all easily put into place in our daily lives. For example, do the planet a favor and make sure you rinse out your glass bottles before you put them in the recycling. Contaminants and food residues is a big reason why glass ends up in the landfill! Also, try to avoid breaking glass before you put it in the bin- larger pieces are easier for recycling organizations to handle and sort. Lastly, remember that all glass can be recycled! The vast majority of glassware is fully recyclable, so unless it’s a lightbulb, mirror, or lab beaker, put it in the bin!
The Future of Glass Waste
So what could the future hold? In our minds, bright things! There’s a ton of untapped potential in glass waste management worldwide. Consider certain European countries that have gone full force in consumer education and municipal glass management as an example of how things could be. Germany and Switzerland have achieved rates of 90% of glass recycled! Again, we create 10 million tons of glass waste in a year alone. So just imagine taking 9 million tons of glass, and removing it from landfills every single year! With your help, we can do it together.
When you shop at Mosa, you’re not just buying a candle or a shot glass- you’re making a difference. You’re making a commitment to help us fight glass waste in our everyday lives, from your product choices to your recycling habits. Every bottle taken out of the landfill is a win for us, and a win for the planet! So when you’re next thinking about trying something new, or getting that conversation piece you’ve always wanted, think about Mosa- we’re here to make a difference.
We hope you enjoyed this article on glass waste management and how you can personally make a difference. We love sharing stories like this about the problem of glass waste, and why we started our brand in the beginning. We hope you’ll join us in the fight against glass pollution, and let us know if you found this story interesting! Until next time.
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