Thursday, September 9, 2010

No Disappearing Act

For the past several years, I have been collecting a pile of glass containers in my garage with the intent of recycling them someday. The pile was beginning to impede my daughter’s ability to get from her car to the house. The time had come to figure out where to take this load. It was really simple enough. There are several glass recycling drop off locations in the Salt Lake area. The easiest for me was at the Salt Lake landfill located at 6030 West California Avenue. They have several very large bins for glass, cardboard, plastics, and aluminum. The amazing thing about glass is that it can be recycled an indefinite number of times without losing quality or purity. When it ends up in the landfill, I have read that it can take up to a million years to break down. I am not sure how they figure a million years, but that seems to be general consensus by Al Gore and friends. Here is an interesting list compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy of how long it takes certain items to decompose in a landfill:
Banana peel: 3-4 weeks
    Paper box: 1-2 months
 Cotton sock: 5-6 months
           Wood: 10-20 years
    Leather belt: 40-50 years
    Aluminum can: 200-500 years
Disposable diaper: 500-600 years
                Styrofoam cup: 1 million years or more
                   Glass bottle: 1 million years or more

I was feeling a little bit of guilt for all the previous items that I have sent to the landfill. Well, maybe not for the disposable diapers. I like being green, but I don’t think I could ever do cloth diapers, so I am glad that I am past having to make that decision.  :)

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