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Poll

Should we recycle empty glass bottles, or should we bring back a refund system so that empty bottles can be reused many times before they are melted down to make new ones?

Recycle Disposable Bottles In Furnaces
1 (5.9%)
Re-Use Empty Bottles No refund
0 (0%)
Re-introduce Refundable Bottles & Re-Use Empty Bottles
14 (82.4%)
Undecided
1 (5.9%)
Am I bothered?
1 (5.9%)

Total Members Voted: 16

Author Topic: Recycle Empty Glass Bottles?  (Read 22858 times)

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Recycle Empty Glass Bottles?
« on: 04/10/2007 10:04:01 »

When I was a youngster, I used to take bottles back for re-use to the local soft drinks factory. Many shops and public houses also sent bottles back and exchanged empty bottles for a small refund, sometimes a few pence. Returning Soda Siphon's was a big earner, can remember getting 10 shillings for one of those babies. Now we have plastic bottles everywhere and when we do have glass bottles, we are encouraged to put them in skips where they go for remelting and reforming into new bottles.  Also putting no value on an empty bottle means it is more likely to get smashed and someone is more likely to be injured on the broken glass. Not long ago the thought of smashing a bottle instead of handing it in for a refund was stupid.

Returning bottles encouraged many young, old and even the very poorest of people to recycle for a modest financial gain. Many people did it because they felt it was right to do so and were not bothered about a financial incentive.


There is a move towards recycling plastic bags at Supermarkets. But this appears to be changing in favour of better stronger bags that can be used many times over.

How many of us today in light of the recent focus on recycling would you be prepared to save bottles and return them for a small remittance instead of listening to them smash as we throw them in the collection skip?



 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #1 on: 04/10/2007 10:40:21 »
We save every bottle and can and even and are paid for all of our bottles with redemption value such as soda beer water bottles etc.... plastics are paid for also less value but we pay more initially when we buy  the product. a CRV value California Redemption Value. So much per bottle or six pack etc. Like a drink tax that is refundable when you bring it back and recycle it. We also have plastics like milk jugs we recycle and they do not go to the dump. They are all taken at the recycling center. So most people here do a fair amount of recycling. Humboldt is a very earth friendly County. We are ardent recyclers, re-users, and reducers..LOL The three R's..LOL California an the average are recyclers.. Of course some don't bother as anywhere else but a huge percentage does.
 

Offline Karen W.

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Recycle Empty Glass Bottles?
« Reply #2 on: 04/10/2007 10:42:26 »
What do you mean by "am I bothered?"
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #3 on: 04/10/2007 12:07:23 »
Hi Karen

Do the bottles get washed out and reused or are they melted and reused to form new bottle? The point I am trying to get across is the energy cost of cleaning the bottles compared to the cost of melting a re-manufacturing new ones, let alone the additional finical costs for re-manufacturing.

Am I bothered is a saying in the U.K. from the programme Little Britain. One of the Characters uses it frequently to express her couldn't care less attitude.

Perhaps I should change it or remove it?
« Last Edit: 04/10/2007 12:13:09 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

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Recycle Empty Glass Bottles?
« Reply #4 on: 04/10/2007 12:18:01 »
Hi Karen

Do the bottles get washed out and reused or are they melted and reused to form new bottle? The point I am trying to get across is the energy cost of cleaning the bottles compared to the cost of melting a re-manufacturing new ones, let alone the additional finical costs for re-manufacturing.

Aside from the cost of remanufacture, there is a particular problem with glass in that it has a high transport cost simply because of its weight (this is true whatever form of recycling is used).
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #5 on: 04/10/2007 12:52:38 »

Am I bothered is a saying in the U.K. from the programme Little Britain. One of the Characters uses it frequently to express her couldn't care less attitude.

Catherine Tate Show, not Little Britain. Shame on you!

On a serious note, I think bottles should be cleaned & re-used; although there is something perversely satisfying about hearing them smash as you drop them in the recycling skip  :D
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #6 on: 04/10/2007 12:57:23 »
Good point. On leaving school I had a job delivering soft drinks out in the countryside mostly. We dropped off loads of bottles, all glass, and all refundable. The bottles were picked up on the same vehicle and returned for washing at Marsh's Pop Factory, where they were cleaned on a machine at very high temperatures. Think there was also some kind of chemical used but can't remember. Anyway, this means that there is no high financial cost of returning the bottles. I walked in with a sack truck loaded with cases of full drinks and walked out with cases loaded with empty bottles which was not a problem for me and the other guys delivering the drinks. The vehicle was going back to the depot which cleans and refills the soft drink bottles so not much change in fuel cost either.

 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #7 on: 04/10/2007 13:02:37 »
You got me there doc. Had a guess at where I heard it. Even the brightest light will cast a shadow :P Hangs head in shame and walks off muttering.

Am I bothered is a saying in the U.K. from the programme Little Britain. One of the Characters uses it frequently to express her couldn't care less attitude.

Catherine Tate Show, not Little Britain. Shame on you!

On a serious note, I think bottles should be cleaned & re-used; although there is something perversely satisfying about hearing them smash as you drop them in the recycling skip  :D
 

Offline eric l

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« Reply #8 on: 04/10/2007 15:28:45 »
I remember the days when Coca Cola had a dense network of bottling plants (sites ?).  In Belgium, you were never farther than 60 km (about 40 miles) from one of their bottling plants.  Re-use was the obvious choice :  the trucks delivering the full bottles could take back the empty ones.
Now, we import bottled water from Italy (and other places), with the glass bottles no longer in wooden or plastic crates but in shrink-wrapping on cardboard trays.  We export beer to the US, in glass bottles, shrink-wrapped with cardboard trays, and we import Budweiser (somehow I still find it difficult to call that "beer") equally in glass bottles, shrink-wrapped, with cardboard trays.  Economically speaking, the cost of reuse would be extreme.
But how about the ecology ?  I remember that the rinsing of milk bottles (including the bottles for milk products) was a major cause of pollution for a local river.  Of course the dairy factories all have waste water treatment now, still, there must be an ecological and economical cost involved.  That should be compared to the ecological and economical cost of remolding glass bottles and making new ones.
Oh, I voted for re-introducing refundable bottles, so that people remain conscous that there are costs involved.
« Last Edit: 04/10/2007 15:34:23 by eric l »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #9 on: 04/10/2007 17:12:41 »
Yes the coca cola bottle and the Pepsi bottle were beautifully designed; it was almost a criminal offence to break one.  Beer always tastes far better from a glass bottle than a can or a plastic bottle.

Another issue is the leeching of chemicals from plastic bottles. Some are linked to cancer and are oestrogen mimicking. Glass on the other hand does not contaminate the product inside at all. 

Re discharge from washing bottles. We still are encouraged to wash plastic milk bottles etc before putting them in the recycle bin, this results in the same amount of pollution as washing bottles out or pretty close, so must be offset against the output into the environment from the furnaces reforming new bottles from old.

If this study goes the way it’s looking at the moment. I will submit the results to my M.P. and get him to raise it in the House of Commons, Maybe if a few more of us did the same we could change things for the better? 
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #10 on: 04/10/2007 18:11:33 »
I only live just up the road from David Cameron so I'll pop round to see him with it too  :D
 

another_someone

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« Reply #11 on: 04/10/2007 18:11:50 »
Beer always tastes far better from a glass bottle than a can or a plastic bottle.

Not just beer - most things.

Another issue is the leeching of chemicals from plastic bottles. Some are linked to cancer and are oestrogen mimicking. Glass on the other hand does not contaminate the product inside at all. 

Another way of saying the same thing - as a rule, if you can't taste it, it is very much less likely to be contaminated with something undesirable.

But then the people concerned with the 'health of the planet' are not normally so concerned with the health of consumers (like the arguments that we should refrain from flushing our toilettes in order to save on water).

Re discharge from washing bottles. We still are encouraged to wash plastic milk bottles etc before putting them in the recycle bin, this results in the same amount of pollution as washing bottles out or pretty close, so must be offset against the output into the environment from the furnaces reforming new bottles from old.

There are significant differences.

The desire for domestic washing of recyclables is not to the same standard of hygiene as would be required if the bottles were intended for reuse rather than remanufacture.

On the other hand, having lots of people washing bottles in ones and twos is intrinsically less efficient that having them centrally washed (i.e. you need to use more soap, etc. to wash each bottle separately than to wash them all at once), simply because of the economies of scale that can be achieved by centralised washing (the only advantage in having the consumer washing the bottles is a reduction in labour costs, since the consumers labour is obtained free of charge - and even the cost of materials used for cleaning the bottles would be paid for by the consumer).

« Last Edit: 04/10/2007 18:14:04 by another_someone »
 

Offline Alandriel

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Recycle Empty Glass Bottles?
« Reply #12 on: 05/10/2007 16:46:39 »
On a serious note, I think bottles should be cleaned & re-used; although there is something perversely satisfying about hearing them smash as you drop them in the recycling skip  :D

Hehe...  :DI'm not alone in that feeling then - LOL.
But yes, I'm all for re-use and re-cycle (and reduce in the first place!*)) and all my glass bottle either get an extended life at home (anything from impromptu vases to storage of various concoctions) or get recycled; with or without the satisfying crash.

What I heard, and keep hearing here and there though, is that much of our (UK) recycled stuff ends up getting shipped on otherwise empty container ships to China. Is that really so? Do you know??

*) it's really great to see a paper and cotton bag revolution happening. Now if only the general packaging can be brought under control then we're all laughing again  :)
 

another_someone

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« Reply #13 on: 05/10/2007 22:18:30 »
But yes, I'm all for re-use and re-cycle (and reduce in the first place!*)) and all my glass bottle either get an extended life at home (anything from impromptu vases to storage of various concoctions) or get recycled; with or without the satisfying crash.

One could, if one is being perverse, ask whether using materials merely for cosmetic purposes (e.g. as vases) really amounts to a justifiable use of it (ok, it may save the landfill sites, but from a functional perspective, it is not really functionally being reused, since you could choose not to have vases, and that would be at least as efficient in terms of material usage).

I did say te argument was deliberately extreme, since I accept that part of being human is to desire to change the environment around us in pleasing ways, including placing flowers in vases; but from a strictly functional perspective, it is wasteful.  This dichotomy is very much analogous to the argument as to whether one should drink bottled water simply because it pleases ones tastes the better, but is functionally more wasteful that drinking tap water.

What I heard, and keep hearing here and there though, is that much of our (UK) recycled stuff ends up getting shipped on otherwise empty container ships to China. Is that really so? Do you know??

The problem with talking about recycling is that it is a massive industry, and almost anything you have to say about it is probably true of some part of it.

In many cases, the availability of recycled material often exceeds the ability of manufacturers to utilise it (mostly because products manufactured from recycled material is often of a lower quality products manufactured from raw materials, so what generally happens is that manufacturers try and blend recycled material with raw material, and so cannot use all the recycled material they could if it was 100% recycled).

On the other hand, often there are secondary uses for recycled material where quality is less critical - for instance, I have heard that glass is being used as aggregate for concrete.

*) it's really great to see a paper and cotton bag revolution happening. Now if only the general packaging can be brought under control then we're all laughing again  :)

Cotton itself has had people complaining about the the conditions in which it is grown, and is another material that has to be imported.

I do like cotton as a material (particularly for clothing), but it is just to show that there is nothing that is without its controversy.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #14 on: 06/10/2007 11:59:24 »
Metal makes up more than 7% of US waste - from dog food cans and the linings inside milk cartons to zips on clothing.
And glass, most of it containers and packaging, accounts for more than 5%.

Easily collected and recyclable indefinitely, glass and some metals, particularly aluminium, are some of the most efficient materials to recycle.

Recycling aluminium saves up to 95% of the power needed in the energy-intensive process of smelting new aluminium, and used glass melts at a temperature lower than that needed to produce new glass, so again uses less energy.

But only 27% of US waste aluminium and 23% of its glass is recovered for recycling – compared with 45% of its paper.

Of about 100 billion drinks containers shipped in the US each year, around three-quarters are aluminium and glass.

But, while higher proportions of aluminium cans and glass bottles are recycled than other products made of the same materials, recycling rates for both actually fell slightly in the late 1990s.

     
 
 
 
According to National Soft Drinks Association research, in 2000, nearly two thirds of aluminium cans were recycled - this is more than the UK’s 42%, but a long way below the 91% rate in Switzerland and Finland, and 86% in Sweden.

The role of glass as a material in the US is also declining - the amount in waste has decreased slightly since 1990. Green groups have mourned the demise of the refillable glass bottle – which accounted for virtually all drinks containers in 1947, but only 1% in 2000, and is still widely used in developing countries.

The decline of localised bottling and doorstep milk deliveries, together with reduced transport costs and cheaper, disposable alternatives, has meant the end of this practice which simply kept most drinks containers out of the waste stream altogether.

However, so-called “Bottle Bill” legislation is in force in 10 states, requiring manufacturers to include in the price of a product a deposit refundable when the container is returned.

The soft-drinks industry says this is neither consumer-friendly nor cost-effective. But campaign groups say it boosts recycling dramatically, claiming that those 10 states recycle more bottles and cans than all the other 40 states put together.

The US also recycles 34% of the steel in its waste stream, and 35% of all metals.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/world/2002/disposable_planet/waste/weeks_waste/metals.stm
 

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« Reply #15 on: 06/10/2007 12:27:19 »
Easily collected and recyclable indefinitely, glass and some metals, particularly aluminium, are some of the most efficient materials to recycle.

Recycling aluminium saves up to 95% of the power needed in the energy-intensive process of smelting new aluminium, and used glass melts at a temperature lower than that needed to produce new glass, so again uses less energy.

My understanding is that the problem for both, particularly for glass, is maintaining the purity of the recycled material (hence the need for separate green, brown, and clear, glass recycle bins - but this can never work totally).
 

Offline Alandriel

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« Reply #16 on: 06/10/2007 15:24:05 »

One could, if one is being perverse, ask whether using materials merely for cosmetic purposes (e.g. as vases) really amounts to a justifiable use of it (ok, it may save the landfill sites, but from a functional perspective, it is not really functionally being reused, since you could choose not to have vases, and that would be at least as efficient in terms of material usage).

Oh, I'm totally with you on that one - it's not really efficient per se, it doesn't serve survival but it sure does enhance one's environment - hence perhaps indirectly contribute to survival as it in a very round-about-sort-of-way makes me a happier person and happier people stay healther longer and survive better; which perhaps in the end is not very efficient either should I go past the 100 mark.
I kid - of course  ;D

Yes - the argument is extreme and like all things in life a matter of choice (and taste!) in the end - but extreme arguments are fun!

I say do what you can, do what you must but keep a balance between the two.

I'm not making much sense I know - oh dear! [:-[]

I don't re-use bottles as impromptu vases very often, just in case I got the wrong impression across here. Much more often they lead a happy life as containers for my home made sauces, cosmetics etc. since I rather opt for ingredients that I can readily identify and approve of and can get without having to obtain a special chemical hazards licence  :o What the industry packs into our food and cosmetics these days is unbelievable!!!!!! But that's another story of course  - sorry I disgress.

Quote
On the other hand, often there are secondary uses for recycled material where quality is less critical - for instance, I have heard that glass is being used as aggregate for concrete.

I didn't know that one, interesting! But yes, it's great that the recycle industry is getting ever more clever in finding new ways of incorporating such materials. Where ever I can, I go for recycled e.g. stationary, wc paper

Quote
Cotton itself has had people complaining about the the conditions in which it is grown, and is another material that has to be imported.
There is fair trade cotton - and I see it more and more often on labels which is encouraging. But yes, as you say quite rightly, there is nothing without controversy.
We had a really good program on here the other week regarding the real costs, the real story behind chocolate, gold and a third thing that now's completely slipped my mind. Very illuminating that was!

Andrew: you wouldn't by any chance have figures for the UK? Curiosity.....


[...edited because I can't spell!]
« Last Edit: 06/10/2007 15:26:44 by Alandriel »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #17 on: 18/10/2007 10:31:35 »
Sorry Alandriel I don't have U.K. Figures.

Was hoping for a voting bonanza on here so we could present our findings to the authorities and maybe reverse the throw away bottle society for a more environmentally reusable resource. I do my bit BTW with pickled onions etc for Christmas and well into the new year. Our pickles are legendary. Crunching one as I write this from a washed and re-used coffee Jar:)

So please vote :)
 

Offline Alandriel

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« Reply #18 on: 18/10/2007 16:01:31 »
 *********grrrrrr.... my post just got eaten. It simply IS NOT  my week ********
 

Too bad I can't vote more than once - I hope lots more people see this.  :)

 Legendary pickles, aye?

 You simply must give us the recipe here  ;D

 I loooooooooooove good pickles, espcially onion.................. in red wine vinegar  :o ;D
 not like the sweet ones you find here all over.... they're just simply not to my taste
 

Offline Atomic-S

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« Reply #19 on: 29/10/2007 05:15:06 »
Here in Tucson, Arizona, there is a city recycling program: one barrel for general garbage, and another for recyclables of all kinds. That includes glass bottles, certain plastic bottles, phone books, old cartons and newspapers, and metal cans, among other things. There is an unusually high useage rate because it is very convenient, unlike some systems.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #20 on: 30/10/2007 19:34:36 »
Hi Atomic, we have this type of recycling also, Our glass is separated in skips with 3 compartments so we post the bottles to keep the colours separate, which is great if you go along with disposable glass bottles rather than reusing bottles and being given a small deposit refund for your trouble of returning the bottles to the outlet that provided the drink in the first place.

We in the UK, who are the heaviest taxed country in the World if we include Snide and on the side taxes along with stealth taxes and of course the taxes everyone watches being prised from their hands at the wages office or the fuel pump, or the television tax we in the UK so obediently put up with. Now we are about to be introduced to the black bag tax. This latest bit of highway robbery comes in the guise of being environmentally friendly because it penalises the general public for buying wrapping and packaging that no one wants to by, but is forced upon us by the super market chains and the food and product processors who stupidly believe we want this crap and are quite happy to pay for it when we buy it and pay again when we dispose of it??????????????????????

I SAY REMOVE ALL WRAPPINGS IN THE SUPERMARKET AND LET THEM PAY TO DISPOSE OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OR BETTER STILL TAKE IT TO YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL OFFICE AND EMPTY THE BAGS ON THEIR OFFICE FLOORS!

It’s high time people power let these idiots know who pays them their wage and who they are working for.
 

Offline calimero

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« Reply #21 on: 28/09/2011 22:46:29 »
few thoughts...
recycling does not mean re-use for same purpose.
glass bottles can be used in many way and burning bottle is not the best....kitchen tops  ( great for broken and mixed glasses)
i am surprised to still read that recycled good are lower quality... this is no longer the truth for some many recycled products!!!
 

Offline The science enthusiast

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« Reply #22 on: 05/10/2011 20:17:43 »
In Germany they use the refundable bottle scheme and you see people who do not have any money taking bottles of the street and recycling them for the money. Not only is this a sensible way to get people to recycle it also gets people with no money to help keep the streets clean and gives them work without people employing them.
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #23 on: 06/10/2011 09:46:39 »
Talking about recycling - this is a 4 year old thread!!

I notice that in Canada (at least in Vancouver) they also pay money back for bottles, plastic containers, cans and even milk/juice cartons. So, like in Germany, some people go around the streets and collect them to make a bit of money.
 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #24 on: 07/10/2011 02:15:23 »
Here in californiA it is common practice and we are charged a crv value when we purchase sodas juices etc..we then separzye them and return the containers for so much per pound for....separated brown glass recyclibles, clear glass, green glass, aLuminum cans and plastics with crv recycling value...it is nice to get your money back on those purchases and the money adds up on all those and etc.....
 

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