Responsible Living

Recycling vs. Reusing

Recycling vs. Reusing

Recycling is good because it avoids creating new products from raw materials. However, it is even better to reuse items like glass jars because it still requires a lot of energy to take an old glass container and convert it into a new product. In order for a product like glass to be recycled, it must be rinsed and it must not break when it is in transit; if the glass breaks, most of it goes to the landfill.

At Lionheads, we use two types of containers: aluminum and glass. Aluminum is our primary choice of container because recycling it is a very efficient process. “According to The Aluminum Association, creating an aluminum can out of recycled materials requires only 5 percent as much energy as creating a brand new can from bauxite ore.The EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] estimates that recycling one ton of aluminum saves the equivalent of almost 32 barrels of oil, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process.” Aluminum containers can also be recycled and returned to the shelf in about 60 days and compared to glass, it uses a lot less energy. At Lionheads, we also use glass for products that contain large amounts of clay and/or essential oils. Even though glass uses a lot more energy than aluminum, it is still better than using plastic. We won’t even talk about plastic too much here. I’ll just say that not only is it bad for the environment because it is made from oil and that it takes 450 to 1000 years to decompose. Many plastics leech harmful hormone-disrupting and carcinogenic chemicals into our product, as well as into our environment when they are disposed (contaminating soil and killing wildlife).

In our household, when we go grocery shopping, we try our best to choose products with no or minimal packaging. Whenever we can, we choose products that are packaged in glass or aluminum. I personally love the glass containers because I can clean them and use them to store dried goods such as legumes, grains, and snacks. We also use old mason jars to freeze our favourite soups. I love using them to make DIY gifts, such as bath salts, for my friends and family too.

 

References:

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/energy-recycle-glass-bottles-vs-aluminum-cans-vs-plastic-79276.html

http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html

http://www.aluminum.org/news/aluminum-cans-carry-lower-carbon-footprint-glass-or-plastic-equivalents-beverage-transportation