Let’s get real, guys. The world we live in, its a mess. Climate change is very real; we are seeing the effects of it every day with record breaking temperatures on both ends of the scale, and until people start taking it seriously there won’t be time to repair it. With all the damage to the climate, our environment has suffered too; from our beautiful oceans and beaches to the gorgeous and adorable furry and water friends who inhabit it. I often catch myself thinking…”is this really the planet I want my future children and grandchildren to inherit?”.  The more I started to learn, the more I wanted to do. I realised there was something I could contribute in my own way to make our world safer and cleaner. I accepted the challenge to recycle all of my glass for the month of October - and you can do it too.


When it comes to glass recycling I must admit I was a bit intimidated. I had so many questions: How to start, where to go, what to do?. My head was spinning. I had never done this before, or come close to anything like it. And I have learnt a lot through it. I’ve come to realise that my initial hesitancy has been met with a sense of accomplishment. For one, glass recycling helps the environment. The amount of energy needed to melt recycled glass is considerably less than that needed to melt raw materials to make new bottles and jars. Recycling one bottle can save enough energy to power a TV for one and a half hours. The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC) is South Africa’s official organisation for the promotion of glass recycling. Their goal? To keep glass alive by promoting the practice of recycling and reusing this environmentally friendly packaging. In just 11 years, TGRC has increased the glass recycling rate from 18% to a whopping 41.5%. Talk about positive and environmental change!

Lets start with the WHY?

Recycling glass saves scarce landfill space.

By recycling, you are preventing waste glass from filling up South Africa’s ‘dump sites’. To date, 82% of glass has been diverted from landfills.

Keeping South Africa clean.

By recycling instead of littering, you are ensuring our natural environment is kept clean and beautiful.

Glass recycling saves energy.

Recycling just one bottle saves enough energy to power a fluorescent light bulb for seven hours! Take a look at the Energy Calculator here to see how much energy you can save by recycling.

Recycling reduces our carbon footprint.

Taking into account the transportation and processing, for every ton of glass made out of recycled glass, 670kg of CO2 emissions are saved. Recycling also reduces the need for raw materials to be quarried thus saving non-renewable, natural resources.

Recycling conserves our natural resources.

For every ton of waste glass used to manufacture new glass, 1.2 tons of natural resources are saved.

Collecting glass for glass recycling can serve as a source of income.

Unemployed people are able to earn a source of income by collecting and selling the glass to buy-back centres. To date, 3125 entrepreneurs have been supported through TGRC initiative.  

Onto the HOW?

 First you’re going to want to collect all of your waste glass for recycling. If you have an additional sturdy dustbin or container that can keep all of your items for recycle inside, thats a fabulous start. Recycling is easy and you don’t have to start big to make an impact. Glass containers such as cold drink, juice and water bottles, beer bottles, alcohol bottles, wine bottles, food and sauce containers, like the ones that hold tomato sauce and mayonnaise, glass coffee jars make the list as well,  even your clear drinking glasses can be recycled. You want to make sure that the glass jars or bottles are not dirty, so be sure to rinse out any leftovers and don’t forget to remove the lids or caps. 


Next step? Find a Glass Bank.

A glass bank is a very large container for collecting a community’s recyclable glass. This is used as a recycling point for members of the public to deposit all their glass to be recycled. The presence of a glass bank encourages local residents to engage in responsible recycling behaviour by separating waste and becoming involved in the collection of used glass. Luckily I have two Glass Banks in my area, and more exciting, there are 4017 Glass Banks in SA. If you don’t have one, you can always request one here.

You can also make use of a Recycling Companies like ECOmonkey Recycling or Remade Recycling. They will come and pick up your glass recycling at your house for a small fee. 

A humbling "green" lesson learned...

My take away from accepting this challenge was definitely an AHA moment. We live in a beautiful world, and we want to keep it that way. I learned that by doing this I was setting an example not just for myself, but for those around me. Education and knowledge is power, and I am so glad I took the time to better my ability and empower myself to do something bigger than me. This is also such a wonderful thing to do as a family; and if you have kids, there’s no better way to start teaching them the value of protecting our planet then by them learning from your example.  For anyone who wants to do their bit, I am challenging all of you to do the same as me for the month of October. Take up this challenge, you may just find that its something you carry with you for the rest of your life, with so many lessons learned along the way. I always say that if you give a girl the right red lipstick she has the power to change the world. I am going to change that statement. I now believe that if you can empower anyone with the ability to go green, not only do you have the power to change the world - but the tools to save it. 



To learn more about The Glass Recycling Company visit their website here

You can also email them

Tel: 0861 2 45277

Tel: 011 463 5644

Fax: 011 463 4772


Image Credits - The Glass Recycling Company