I was recently a participant in a conversation with a man who runs a recycling center (let’s call him Thomas). I’ve got no particular beef with Thomas – he seemed pretty committed to overall environmental issues. And I’ve got no particular beef with recycling as an industry – it’s what we’ve got, and it serves a valuable function in the system we’re in. However, talking to him revealed some places where our perspectives really differ.
Thomas was very dismissive of glass products. To him, glass is a problem. In order to recycle glass (into more glass), he says that more energy is used that is used to make glass in the first place, making recycling it a negative-energy endeavor. I claimed that glass products were highly useful because they’re reusable. You don’t have to recycle them at all – you can just keep using them over and over again. He was very dismissive of this idea. He said, “Yeah, but who reuses glass?”
I sputtered a bit at this. Well, I do!