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Why You Need To Use Your ‘Environmentally Friendly’ Cotton Carrier Bag 171 Times To Be Green


The Masked Tulip

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All the spam advertising, freemail advertising, leaflets, charity bags and free newspapers etc etc pushed through people's letter boxes each and every day must produce tonnes, likely several tonnes, of CO2 just for each address. Then it all has to be disposed of - more CO2.

That's on top of all the barrels of oil it must take to produce and transport the stuff affecting the oil price.

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Google for the report?

Glass recycling is definitely one of the most questionable benefits. Personally, I think the decrease in landfill is, in itself, a bonus worth considering. Like many things, simply leaving the issue to accumulate isn't removing a problem but creating a bigger delayed one.

Personally, I can't understand why some effort isn't put into glass reuse. Wine bottles, Ale bottles, sauce bottles, jam jars etc all follow a largely generic template. I'd have no issue buying products that came in a reused container if it was properly cleaned.

If I had my way, the UK gov could create a standard glass container for each of the products. It could then buy these standard containers from consumers for say 20p and levy a 20p tax on all glass containers sold. A 12 pack of glass beer bottles would cost you £2.40 more, and you'd get your £2.40 back if you returned the bottles. If a brand didn't use the standard bottles then they'd either cost you more, or have to offer a way for you to get your money back (by buying the bottles back). There's probably a better solution but glass really is the perfect example of reduce, REUSE, recycle

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I have found large amounts of plausible-sounding information on the internet explaining why glass recycling is worthwhile (compared with making glass from scratch) and, so far, nothing claiming that it isn't. If you are unable to provide any information to back up your claims, I can only conclude that you are simply talking ********.

Edit: Of course, reusing is better, and using plastic bottles may be better than using glass. I don't dispute that.

Edit: Our council, in all its wisdom, has decreed that our recycling boxes do not have lids.

Look, the information is out there and I'm not going to give you a bunch of links, but have the respect to think that you are smart enough to check my opinion for yourself with google and choose which resources you want to believe in the end. And btw, it's noticeable that you are not posting any links either to back your claims up =) Really, this is not something one argues about -- if you find a link you want to discuss, post it and discuss it, but arguing over being to lazy to google is kinda silly, let's not go there.

Regards your litter problem: simply buy/find/make a lid and then the problem is solved. Hedgehogs can get stuck in bins (which they invade with gusto), and getting crushed isn't so much fun (and so on).

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If I had my way, the UK gov could create a standard glass container for each of the products. It could then buy these standard containers from consumers for say 20p and levy a 20p tax on all glass containers sold. A 12 pack of glass beer bottles would cost you £2.40 more, and you'd get your £2.40 back if you returned the bottles. If a brand didn't use the standard bottles then they'd either cost you more, or have to offer a way for you to get your money back (by buying the bottles back). There's probably a better solution but glass really is the perfect example of reduce, REUSE, recycle

See where you're coming from, but not sure it's that practical in the modern world.

My issue with the whole thing is too many people concentrating on the wrong things.

- A plastic bag is totally insignificant if you've already driven to the supermarket.

- Recycling anything is pointless if you're washing it in a dishwasher.

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I remember as a kid going around collecting the old corona glass fizzy drink bottles to collect the 1p deposit from the retailer.....maybe the supermarkets should take more of a responsibility of recycling, then I am sure they would see that there wasn't so much packaging waste.....take your recycle stuff back to the supermarket for a deposit refund? ;)

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I remember as a kid going around collecting the old corona glass fizzy drink bottles to collect the 1p deposit from the retailer.....maybe the supermarkets should take more of a responsibility of recycling, then I am sure they would see that there wasn't so much packaging waste.....take your recycle stuff back to the supermarket for a deposit refund? ;)

How many bottles of pop would you have had a week in your house?

2 or 3?

Consumerism now means it's more likely to be 10X that.

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How many bottles of pop would you have had a week in your house?

2 or 3?

Consumerism now means it's more likely to be 10X that.

Not even that....now never buy the stuff.

I suppose some buy more than others.....have seen it for sale 26p a large plastic bottle makes you wonder what it costs to make then dispose of that bottle...where does it go once it has been finished with?....councils should be more transparent and truthful about what really happens to our carefully sorted rubbish put out for recycling. ;)

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Using a thin plastic bag equates to generating 1.57kg of carbon dioxide.

Don't believe that number.

Especially given the level of maths in the article

And if a plastic bag is re-used as a bin liner, a cotton bag has to be used 173 times - nearly every day of the year

Not sure about other peoples definition of the word nearly but mine isn't under half of something.

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Surely cotton has to be better all round.

As a kid we had a family shopping bag. Heck, we even kept the one egg box and took it back for refills time and time again until it wore out.

Well that's not very good for the economy is it :rolleyes::D

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Not even that....now never buy the stuff.

I suppose some buy more than others.....have seen it for sale 26p a large plastic bottle makes you wonder what it costs to make then dispose of that bottle...where does it go once it has been finished with?....councils should be more transparent and truthful about what really happens to our carefully sorted rubbish put out for recycling. ;)

Own brand fizzy water is 9p for the two litre pop bottle's worth. Even if you take the product at zero cost, and the transportation at zero costs, and other overheads (shelf space, tetc.), the packaging still only costs 9p. will probably be much, much less once the other costs are included.

Add a tiny bit of flavouring, and you get coke, and it becomes £2 per bottle!!!

Now, That's magic.

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Glass recycling is definitely one of the most questionable benefits. Personally, I think the decrease in landfill is, in itself, a bonus worth considering. Like many things, simply leaving the issue to accumulate isn't removing a problem but creating a bigger delayed one.

Personally, I can't understand why some effort isn't put into glass reuse. Wine bottles, Ale bottles, sauce bottles, jam jars etc all follow a largely generic template. I'd have no issue buying products that came in a reused container if it was properly cleaned.

If I had my way, the UK gov could create a standard glass container for each of the products. It could then buy these standard containers from consumers for say 20p and levy a 20p tax on all glass containers sold. A 12 pack of glass beer bottles would cost you £2.40 more, and you'd get your £2.40 back if you returned the bottles. If a brand didn't use the standard bottles then they'd either cost you more, or have to offer a way for you to get your money back (by buying the bottles back). There's probably a better solution but glass really is the perfect example of reduce, REUSE, recycle

Glass doesn't leach anything, so it's not a problem at all in a landfill and it really can be just left there, forever and a day, until the sun melts it one day :)

Nice idea about reuse, but here are the problems:

Handling, cleaning, collecting... is expensive, whilst jars and bottles are cheap. And when you add a return bond to the calculation, you also recruit free labour as the shop has to handle it (which then makes what you buy more dear). Plus all the money that is suddenly invested into bottles is another issue. A tenner or £50 in the pantry in form of a glass and tin deposit won't hurt your or me, but folks on a budget would be feeling this, especially if they bulk buy to save money.

If you offer a bounty on rubbish, then people will climb your bins at night to get at the riches. I spend an entire summer in Boston listening to every tramp in the area searching the communal dumpster for 5c alloy cans noisily... (and messily) at night, all night long. (grr...)

You cannot properly clean vessels because you don't know what people kept in there -- it may not be food, and washing may not clean it but simply distributes the substance evenly amongst many containers. If someone dumps a broken mercury thermometer into a jar etc, or some kid catches the motor oil in a beer bottle and so on. Some of that can be caught, but there are a lot of substances out there that are not as obvious.

Moreover, recycled bottles only last a few iterations -- when Germany still had a unified beer bottle system, they got on average 6 uses (or so) out of one bottle before it looked too manky at the sides where the machinery chafed the surface into etched rings, and going to a lighter design saved fuel but upped breakage as those bottles get handled more than one-way products. And there is the matter of the sturdy plastic crates in which the bottles are stored so they don't touch each other and can be stacked safely, which themselves also have a limited lifetime and a very high cost -- you can't run a bottle return system in cardboard boxes but need those kind crates to make handling safe for people and companies, whilst also keeping the bottles safe. It looks good and tidy, but costs many more times than it saves in the end.

Could you clean stuff yourself? Yes, but... unless you sanitize properly after cleaning, your food safety would be compromised, and whilst you probably wouldn't die from it, your food would spoil much faster on average. And how would you fill it? Would you really want to use a milk filling station in the supermarket? Would you want to fill your own mustard/jam from a dispenser? And how hygienic would this be?

Packaging is a huge cost on business -- and if there is a cheaper way of doing things safely, then it has already been implemented in almost every case.

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Look, the information is out there and I'm not going to give you a bunch of links, but have the respect to think that you are smart enough to check my opinion for yourself with google and choose which resources you want to believe in the end. And btw, it's noticeable that you are not posting any links either to back your claims up =) Really, this is not something one argues about -- if you find a link you want to discuss, post it and discuss it, but arguing over being to lazy to google is kinda silly, let's not go there.

Regards your litter problem: simply buy/find/make a lid and then the problem is solved. Hedgehogs can get stuck in bins (which they invade with gusto), and getting crushed isn't so much fun (and so on).

OK, here's the first reference given in the Wikipedia entry on glass recycling:

Recycling two bottles saves enough energy to boil water for five cups of tea

Now show me your link rebutting this.

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Packaging is a huge cost on business -- and if there is a cheaper way of doing things safely, then it has already been implemented in almost every case.

You seem to be missing the point here. Nobody doubts the ability of the packaging industry to minimise their costs; the problem is that the environmental costs of the packaging are not borne by the packagers but by the population in general.

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OK, here's the first reference given in the Wikipedia entry on glass recycling:

Recycling two bottles saves enough energy to boil water for five cups of tea

Now show me your link rebutting this.

I would but, there is not enough information to check this claim, I'd need to see the calculation with full workings.

But you asked for a link and a rebuttal, so let's use their site and figures, to see, what is really being saved.

The site also claims that each family in the UK uses 330 bottles of glass per year.

Each family saves 660 cups of tea by recycling, which is 165 litre of tea water, that is worth 0.114 kHw[1] per litre, so, savings are 165*0.114 = 18.1kHw which at 15p a kHw makes £2.80 in saving per family per year.

660 bottles take on average 30 seconds to process each, and so, 330 minutes per year, or, 5 hours and 30 minutes are spent, (51p hourly wage) recycling, or £0.017 per bottle.

This is a pure cost to the family of 5h30m, the term 'saving' isn't really applicable as such here. And once you take into account the costs to the NHS as some people will end up breaking the bottles and stabbing themselves, it really is no bargain at all.

So, you see, recycling glass is not worth it for anyone who is not profiting from the industry in some way at all -- just say no and use your time in life (which is limited) for something more worthwhile. If you don't recycle, then if you live 70 years and save 5:30hrs every year, you will gain 16 days -- imagine what you can do with that time instead!

[1] http://www.which.co.uk/home-and-garden/kitchen/reviews/kettles/page/faqs/

EDIT: typo and small omission fixed

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