How to Recycle Glass by Throwing It Away


Next time you see someone tossing a beer bottle into the ocean – cheer him on.

While it’s always better to recycle, this is a rare instance where thoughtlessness usually results in something good. The bottle fragments will be tumbled and pounded in the surf until their edges are smoothed and their surface becomes milky. Glass is unreactive (hence glass test-tubes) and the restless sea will eventually reduce it to unusually beautiful sand.

But some of it will end up above the shoreline – and that’s where we come in. I spent many childhood hours collecting beach glass, rubbing it with a wet thumb to make the colors come alive. Thousands of people sharing my fascination make up the North American Sea Glass Association – and amongst them, artisans like By The Bay Treasures, East Coast Sea Glass Design and many others. (I’m particularly under the spell of glass beads, the way they click in Komboloi).

So keep taking your bottles out for recycling – but if any are particularly brightly colored, throw them in the sea instead. You’re helping the oldest tradition of recycling stay alive.

Our continuing love-affair with recycled glass:

The Glass is Greener
Recycled Glassware Round-Up
Glass Not Dismissed!
(Recycled) Green With Envy
Recycled Glass: A Beautiful (2000 Year Old) Tradition
Smart Glass Jewelry by Kathleen Plate
What Happens to a Broken Windshield?

Image: NTLam

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.