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May   5

I Want to Say One Word to You. Just One Word. Are You Listening?


As of this week, Glen Ridge is finally recycling them. Rules and regulations are posted here. They can be placed in the same container with cans and glass.

(With apologies to Mike Nichols.)

May 5, 2006 in Buzz | Permalink


Finally! Thank you Glen Ridge.

Posted by: Jessica | May 5, 2006 8:46:07 AM

I have a general question about recyclables. Since so many glass and plastic bottles are shaped and colored differently, what happens to them once they're picked up at a recycling center? Are the green Heineken bottles, for example, really crushed up somewhere in a different bin from the clear glass Snapple ones? And does someone also then separate the glass Snapple bottles from the plastic ones?

I realize this might strike others as too basic a question. But it's still one I've never had answered. When I used to go to the recycling center in a town I lived in "down the shore," I was always amazed at, for instance, just how many different types of green bottles there were. And I'd just naively imagined it was a simple matter of sending, say, Heineken its bottles back so they could be sterilized and reused. Since it's not, what is really done?

Posted by: cathar | May 5, 2006 9:13:45 AM


thanks to Miss M's reminder, today is 'no pants' day...the first friday in may.

you go pissant, enjoy the day...

Posted by: Iceman | May 5, 2006 9:19:59 AM

That's a good question, Cathar, about the different colored glass.

The plastics, I know, are separated from the glass.

Years ago, I thought that the glass bottles were, indeed, sent back to their respective compnaies so that they could be sterilized and reused. I think that makes the most sense, no? Rather than crushing the old ones and making new ones. Not sure how they are processed today.

Posted by: Miss Martta | May 5, 2006 9:21:55 AM

No pants day? How will that affect entrance into the sacred portals of Red Cheetah?

Posted by: cathar | May 5, 2006 9:22:25 AM

Ack...my cowrokers have let me down, Ice. Everyone has pants on today.

Posted by: Miss Martta | May 5, 2006 9:24:08 AM

"No pants day? How will that affect entrance into the sacred portals of Red Cheetah?"

That's easy. If you're a woman, you're in like Flynn. If you're a man, maybe. As long as you're not wearing Birkenstocks.

Posted by: Miss Martta | May 5, 2006 9:25:47 AM

But Miss Martta, my basic point is that there are so many different bottle shapes and colors, you couldn't possibly send each and every one back to the right bottling plant. It'd certainly cost a fortune to do so. Just one drinker in town who buys Belgian kriek beers, for example, servicing his recyclables would prove very expensive.

Posted by: cathar | May 5, 2006 9:28:42 AM

where is the sense of humor...if only the immigrant marches were today - what a spectacle...al sharpton and jesse jackson leading the parade sans trousers. Quick, shield the childrens eyes

Posted by: Iceman | May 5, 2006 9:28:47 AM

Cathar -

Recycling centers have pretty complex systems that are very good at sorting things out by material, color, content, etc. For instance, there's often enough iron in brown glass that a magnet can separate it from clear glass.

Once glass is sorted, it is usually broken down and sold as something else. So no, Heinie bottles don't come back as new Heinie bottles. They are crushed, mixed with other green glass and probably sold as a lower-quality glass for building materials, road building, insulation, etc. It's very unlikely that any beer bottle these days is anything other than almost 100% new glass.

So the benefits from recycling come not from using the same bottle over and over as a bottle, but from reducing the cost of raw materials in the production of other, lower quality glass products.

Posted by: TwinDad | May 5, 2006 9:29:03 AM

Maybe that's where everybody was on Wednesday, shopping for no pants to wear today.

Posted by: crank | May 5, 2006 9:30:47 AM

TwinDad, thankee. It does sound now, however, as if the term "recycling" is a bit of a shuck. I certainly was someone who foolishly believed that those bottles I separated were going back to their bottlers, eventually. And no one seemingly wished to disabuse me of this notion. What, however, becomes of plastic bottles? Aluminum cans? Tin cans (besides serving in cartoons as goat feed)?

And if someone can also exlain to me why Rolling Rock, in glass bottles already, is also supposedly bottled in "glass-lined" bottles as its advertising has it, my quota of earth's great mysteries solved will have been satisfied for today.

Posted by: cathar | May 5, 2006 9:36:28 AM

Where does one buy no pants, anyway? At the same store that, yes, has no bananas? Or don't we want to go there?

Confused in Caldwell

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | May 5, 2006 9:38:19 AM

Well, Conan, there IS a clothing manufacturer called No Fear. Mostly surfer duds and stuff.

Posted by: Miss Martta | May 5, 2006 9:40:08 AM

Speaking of no pants, I think this is the best ad on this site. I look forward to seeing it every day.

Posted by: Horny | May 5, 2006 9:48:27 AM

I would suggest An Edwardian-style shop which carries the signs:

'Ye Olde Cheese Emporium';
'Henry Wensleydale, Purveyor of Fine Cheese to the Gentry and the Poverty Stricken Too';
'Licensed for Public Dancing';

Posted by: crank | May 5, 2006 9:48:47 AM

In the restaurant / bar where I worked in college, the empty beer bottles were put back in the cases and the company would pick them up when dropping off the new cases. My understanding was that those empties were sterilized and refilled at the bottling plant.

So the plant can / does recycle bottles from commercial establishments, but has no direct-to-consumer mechanism for reusing its beer bottles.

Posted by: skipwith | May 5, 2006 10:13:51 AM

I don't recall that recycling always implied returning the material to the same form only that it was processed for reuse.

Main Entry: 1re·cy·cle
Pronunciation: (")rE-'sI-k&l
Function: verb
transitive senses
1 : to pass again through a series of changes or treatments: as a : to process (as liquid body waste, glass, or cans) in order to regain material for human use b : RECOVER 6
2 : to adapt to a new use : ALTER
3 : to bring back : REUSE
4 : to make ready for reuse
intransitive senses
1 : to return to an earlier point in a countdown
2 : to return to an original condition so that operation can begin again -- used of an electronic device
- re·cy·cla·ble /-k(&-)l&-b&l/ adjective or noun
- re·cy·cler /-k(&-)l&r/ noun

Posted by: Krys O. | May 5, 2006 10:14:39 AM

Krys O. I (for one, I probably had much company) assumed that "recyclable" was synonymous with "reusable." While that was indeed my error, I also feel that the environmental industry (and it is an industry) does little or nothing to discourage that notion.

skipwith's reminiscence is much more in keeping with what I was led to believe. But he also may just have worked at a place that didn't sell a hell of a lot of different brands oif beer. Somewhere like the "Iceman's Paradise" otherwise known as the Shepherd and the Knucklehead Pub in Haledon, there are simply too many beer brands from too many different distributors to make what skipwith described likely.

Posted by: cathar | May 5, 2006 10:22:22 AM

True -- they only served maybe 5 different bottled brands, plus the tap selections.

And just to clarify, I'm actually a she. I chose "Skipwith" as a posting name because it was my dear departed father's middle name.

Posted by: skipwith | May 5, 2006 10:32:00 AM

I certainly apologize for the gender error.

Posted by: cathar | May 5, 2006 11:14:03 AM

In college we drank Piel's, which did, in fact, send the bottles back to the brewery. You could tell because after just a few fillings the edges of the bottles would get a scratched patina. If you drink from a bottle that is shiny all the way around it is almost definitely new production.

And yes, there is a big difference between reuse and recycling.

As for what plastic and aluminium and paper get recycled into, it's a big list. Do some googling and you'll find what you're looking for. Many roads are atop material that is built from shredded plastic. Playground ground cover is often made from old tires that are chopped and pressed into a carpet. Many types of packing materials, like the stuff around a computer that lets it sit in a box without shaking around during shipping, is made from recycled paper, cardboard or plastic.

From an economic point of view, the benefit of recycling tends to be the reduction in raw material cost for those who can use the stuff. If you can save 10% on your material costs for the widgets that come out of your factory, then it's worth it.

Posted by: TwinDad | May 5, 2006 11:30:00 AM

Twin Dad and/or Cathar-

What happens to a recycled Guinness Can (or new bottle) that contains the plastic widget that releases the carbonation once opened?

How does that get separated?

Posted by: Shitalker | May 5, 2006 11:46:37 AM

Regarding recycling vs. reusing - in Massachusetts (and some other states) there is (or was, not sure they still do it?) a 5 cent deposit on bottles and if you brought the empties back to the liquor stores they would give you the money back. I think NYC had this as well. One nice thing - it made for clean streets in the city because people looking to make money would pick up empties that were not being returned and take them in for the deposits. I personally think they should do this everywhere - imagine how much less litter there would be here in Bloomfield.

As for the recycling part, TwinDad already explained they crush the like-colored glass together (and the plastics are recycled too, melted down and formed into other things. For instance, there are pretty realistic looking wooden decks and park benches made out of that substance).

In Bloomfield until about a year or two ago we had to pre-sort the glass bottles by color before putting them out for recycling. It was a big treat to be able to commingle!

Posted by: mauigirl52 | May 5, 2006 12:05:52 PM

I'm a Montclair native who moved to Glen Ridge 12 years ago. I've always recycled plastics in Glen Ridge. The company that picks up our reclycling collects in other towns where plastics are permitted. Hence, they don't care what is in Glen Ridge's comingled mix - as it all goes to the same place for sorting.

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