Two green bottles for recycling

19 August 2010
I wandered out to Hanno's big shed yesterday afternoon looking for Alice's old trampoline bed.  I rarely go out there, it's Hanno's territory and while there are very precious things in there - like my ancient school case full of old report cards and photos, there are also some things I don't want to know about - like jars of screws, too many hammers and a vintage fan I should sell.  No sooner had I walked in there when Hanno called out: "What are you looking for?"  LOL  I told him and he came in and showed me that the bed was high up near the roof on a ledge he'd built to hold a couple of old beds and mattresses.  Okay, so I wasn't going to get Alice's old bed but I was in the shed so decided to look around.  I knew I was there for a reason, just as I walked behind the hay stack, there were two little beauties just waiting for me - two old green bottles - one is 1½ litres/quarts, the other is 2 litres/quarts.  I swooped them up and took them inside.

I love recycling containers of all sorts but glass containers are my main prize.  And these, both large bottles with good seals, will help me provide cold water and lemon and fruit cup cordial over the coming summer months.  The cork on the wine bottle has been jammed in the top for who knows how many years and is now easy to take out and replace, while it still seals well. I also recycle stoneware mustard jars, as well as glass jam jars to use for my own homemade jam. There are some authorities who say you should never reuse lids when preserving/canning, I do it all the time and have never had a problem.  I make sure the lid is in good condition, the little rubber seal on the underside of the lid is not perished and there is no rust nor dents.  After boiling in the waterbath, if that little seal is indented, that is a good indication that I can store that jam in my cupboard for the next year.  Most lids last about six batches of jam, and for me, that's about six years of good use before I have to think about binning the jar. But if I find a replacement lid, that jar can go on indefinitely.  Uses for old jam jars.

And just a little tip, when you store biscuits in a jar, use the jars with the flip down metal catch - they're often French or Italian jars that can be bought fairly cheaply, or recycled if you buy the right product.  You can see that type of jar about, just to the left of the Thomas flask. I've found over the years if you use a screw cap, often the screw cap won't be secured properly and you won't know it until you go to get a biscuit for your morning tea and the lid isn't screwed on tightly.  The biscuits are stale.  Having the flip down catch, makes it perfectly clear that the lid is on or off, and you will save your biscuits every time.

I'm sure many of you are already recycling as much as you can but for those who are new to this, maximise your chances of success.  It's no use recycling anything if you don't use it.  Set up a cupboard to put all your recycled materials; clean everything properly, let them dry and add it all to your cupboard.  That cupboard will be your reminder to use a recycled container rather than buying something new.  When I got rid of my dishwasher, Hanno put in two shelves and that is where I hold most of my storage jars and bottles.

I know that recycling plastic is a great thing to do but I don't like recycling plastic that we'll use for food or drinks - even if it's food quality.  I have used recycled food quality plastic in the past, and still use a limited amount, but there is so much conflicting information regarding the leeching of toxins from plastics, I've decided to stay away from it until the scientists have a more definitive answer.  You can check what the symbols on plastics mean here.

This is from
  • By recycling1 plastic bottle not only saves anywhere from 100 to 1000 years in the landfill but also saves the environment from the emissions in producing new bottles as well as the oil used to produce that bottle.
  • For every1 ton of plastic that is recycled we save the equivalent of 2 people’s energy use for 1 year, the amount of water used by 1 person in 2 month’s time and almost 2000 pounds of oil.
 That is powerful stuff, but again, be very careful recycling plastic for food or drinks.

There are many different things you can recycle and by doing that you're helping with a huge international problem.  We've all heard about the floating rubbish in our oceans and we should all make a conscious decision to do what we can, and then follow up that decision with positive action.  I would love you to tell me how and what you recycle.  I am always looking for ways to improve what I'm doing and am interested in learning as much as I can.