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Glass Bottle Comeback

Glass Recycling

Believe it or not, just two generations ago, it was unheard of not to recycle glass beverage bottles.

Today, that idea itself is getting recycled.

Until the 1930s, most beer and soda came in glass bottles that got washed and refilled many times before discarding. Then beer companies introduced disposable cans, and well, the rest is history.

In the '70s, some states passed bottle recycling laws or, "bottle bills," that require a refundable deposit, about a nickel, for beverages sold in glass bottles.

These bills were designed to reduce litter. But they do more. Studies in states with bottle bills report big drops in roadside litter and increases in recycling rates. But today, legislators also like that bottle bills promote green manufacturing. Recycled glass can substitute for up to 70 percent of glass-making raw materials. That means factories can reduce industrial emissions and save on raw goods and energy consumption.

With results like that, some states are exploring broader bottle bills to cover more types of containers. And Congressman Ed Markey from Massachusetts even proposes a national version.

Let's hear it for history repeating itself.

Script by Gail Davis

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