More glass than farce

More glass than farce

We all know that glass is a planet-pleasing packaging material. But this is a bit of a farce since it often ends up in dustbins – and that’s largely because locating a bottle bank is, you know, so onerous. CHARLEEN CLARKE pays tribute to a motor industry initiative that should, to a large extent, alleviate this challenge …

We’ve all done it. Had the mates over for a braai. Cleaned up. And tossed the beer bottles in the bin – all because we don’t know where to find a bottle bank (or possibly we’re too lazy to drive to one once we’ve sobered up).


But now we have no such excuse (well, we cannot comment on the laziness). Because, in what has been hailed as a first for the motor industry, Chrysler SA’s Jeep brand has joined forces with The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC) to place glass banks at all its Jeep dealerships countrywide.

TGRC is a non-profit organisation that promotes the recycling and reuse of glass. TGRC is not involved with the physical recycling of glass, but rather promotes and increases the recovery of waste glass for recycling by creating awareness about the importance of protecting the environment.

The partnership is a truly significant initiative – glass is Seriously Incredible Stuff. We make this statement because it is 100 percent recyclable. In fact, it can be recycled infinitely without compromising its quality, purity or clarity.

More glass than farceThere are numerous other benefits to glass recycling. For instance, energy is saved (recycling just one glass bottle will save so much energy that you can power a 20 watt energy-saving light bulb for five hours). Air and water pollution are also reduced significantly – by 20 and 50 percent respectively.

However, according to TGRC CEO Shabeer Jhetam, a mere 40 percent of glass in South Africa is recycled. “We’ve had exceptional growth from the 2004/2005 rate prior to the establishment of TGRC, where just 18 percent of all glass containers produced annually had been retrieved for recycling in this country, but we still have a long way to go,” he points out.

Enter Chrysler – which has long been an advocate of good environmental practice (the reuse and recycling of raw, process and operating materials during the manufacturing of vehicles is standard on all its product lines) – and the placement of glass banks at all its dealerships. Jhetam tells SHEQ MANAGEMENT that this is a step in the right direction. “These glass banks, along with the support of Jeep customers, will help us to reduce our collective carbon footprint, and preserve our nation for future generations,” he notes.

These glass banks are obviously convenient – but this is the tip of the glass iceberg for existing and potential Jeep customers, who also have access to a number of other benefits. For instance, customers who wish to test drive, purchase a vehicle or have a service will be offered a useful glass recycling bag, as well as a fridge magnet and informative leaflet – Chrysler hopes that these small items will motivate and inspire South Africans to protect our planet by recycling their waste glass.

Guy Franken, group head marketing and corporate affairs at Chrysler South Africa and Fiat Group Automotive SA, anticipates that the glass recycling initiative will be a success. “Jeep has a global ‘Tread Lightly!’ programme that dovetails well with this local recycling endeavour, undertaken through Jeep’s partnership with The Glass Recycling Company,” he says. “Knowing the Jeep customer, and based on the success of our existing programmes, we expect to see a vast amount of support for this campaign.”

As the A-Team’s Hannibal used to say so often … “Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?”

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