I was in Philadelphia yesterday and bought a drink in a glass bottle. I carried that glass bottle with me until I saw one of the recycling bins that the city has on various street corners. If I hadn’t found one, I would have carried the bottle home with me to put in my backyard recycling bin.

I wasn’t surprised to see that there was so much regular trash in the recycling bin even when there was a trash can right next to it; I see that all too often. I wonder if when there is so much trash mixed together with recyclables, if the recyclables don’t end up going to the landfill.

I hope they don’t, and if they don’t, I saw a video from NPR today that explains just how the glass bottle I drank from yesterday could become a glass bottle I drink next year. I think it’s useful to know information like this because it makes recycling less abstract in our minds. When we understand just how it works, I think we may be more likely to do it, and more likely to make sure we don’t throw trash in with the recyclables – especially when we hear the man in the video say “we just can’t get enough bottles.”

I have to say, I thought that glass had always been recycled back into glass. I didn’t know about the aggregate that was used on top of landfills. It’s always good to learn something new.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.