04 March 2010
I read a magazine article in Spirituality and Health magazine today. The article claims glass is an "abundant, low-impact raw material made with no harmful chemicals." The article makes a suggestion to replace plastic bottles with these very tempting, and cute, glass water bottles found at Lifefactory.com. I checked them out, and I am very tempted to purchase one, but I can't.
I kind of hope someone wants to get me one for my birthday in September or, perhaps, for some other occasion. I think I am a fan of the sky blue one. The other cool thing is that they also manufacture baby bottles. And teething rings. It's a very cool site for new moms and dads alike.
But this article, thought it's promoting a product, is an article I trust. And it starts to solve my ongoing wondering: Should I buy glass or plastic at the grocery store when given the choice. I mean, do I buy jam in glass jars or plastic? Do I buy spaghetti sauce in glass jars or plastic? Do I buy milk in a glass jug or plastic? Well. The milk one's easy. Until Oberweiss cuts their prices, I can't afford milk in glass. But jam? Sure. Pasta sauce? Of course.
But I keep wondering if glass is the better choice. And as I researched the issue further, I came across different answers. A pro of getting glass is that glass, when recycled, can be turned back into glass. Plastic bottles, on the other hand, can't be recycled back into bottles. But glass is heavier, so it takes more energy to transport that its plastic counterparts. But then again glass is safer to reuse than plastic because we don't have to worry about the BPA found in reused plastics that can be very harmful for our health. But then again plastic doesn't break, and the companies won't risk wasting product with it.
So my solution? I'm sticking with glass.
Since I've started my dance with Mother Earth, I've saved three jam jars. And I hope to start saving more. I really hope that I can find a set of smaller canning jars at a yard sale or something this summer. For now, I use my three almost every single week to pack my lunch--today one housed a handful of sesame seed almonds, and the other one carried my cottage cheese. I also use them frequently for grapefruit.
But my lunch isn't the only reason glass wins.
It looks prettier. It's always see-through, so I don't have to guess what I stored inside. It lasts much longer. It won't melt in the microwave. I can use it to store foods in the fridge. I can use it to store foods in the pantry. And I know they food will stay fresher. I can reuse it as a vase easily. I can reuse it to attractively hold candles at dinner. I can eventually reuse it to gift friends and relatives my famous rolo turtles at the holidays, and it will still look classy.
So for now, I think glass is the better choice when given the option. But whether you choose glass or plastic isn't nearly as important as saving Mother Earth by recycling (or reusing) both. The astonishing fact remains: "90% of plastic water bottles don't get recycled and end up in landfills" (Spirituality and Health 37). And they take centuries to decompose. There is no excuse for this. Please, buy a reusable water bottle. And recycle when you forget.