The Glass Recycling Company, South Africa’s official organisation for promoting glass recycling, challenged me to a glass recycling challenge for the month of June. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about glass recycling and hopefully motivate some of you in the process!
A few facts about glass…
Did you know that 80% of South Africa’s glass is prevented from entering landfills due to recycling and the use of returnable glass bottles. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled infinitely. If everyone in South Africa recycled just one bottle a month for a year, we could save enough energy to light up Joburg for an evening during peak hours.
The 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This is the mantra of reducing your environmental footprint and being a more responsible citizen. Firstly try to reduce your consumption and waste – don’t buy things you don’t need, buy items with less packaging, choose to buy glass over plastic and say no to straws which pollute our oceans! Reusing or upcycling your waste is another no-brainer. I try to reuse my glass jars as storage containers or vases. I also prefer storing my spices and foodstuff in glass instead of plastic containers. And lastly, what you can’t re-use, please recycle! Find your local recycling depot and buy goods made from recycled materials.
The Story of Stuff
For some inspiration, check out the “The Story of Stuff” online movie. It’s a 20-minute online movie about the way we make, use and throw away all the stuff in our lives. I watched this video years ago and it really made me think about how I need to reduce my consumption.
Ngwenya Glass – using recycled glass
I was recently in Swaziland for BushFire festival, and one of my favourite stops is the Ngwenya Glass factory. They use 100% recycled glass to make epic handmade glass products from tableware to ornamental African animals. They also reuse engine oil to fuel their furnaces and reuse old newspapers to shape and pack glass products.
Check out how Ngwenya Glass uses recycled glass to make artisanal glass products:
How to recycle your glass…
Place a clearly marked glass recycling bin next to your regular rubbish bin, and when it’s full, take it to your nearest glass bank, which can be found online at www.tgrc.co.za.
I’m so looking forward to my glass challenge this month. Besides recycling, I hope to find some cool ways to reuse and upcycle my glass waste. If you have any cool tips on reducing, reusing or recycling hit me up in the comments below!