Glass is the only material recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe), so plastic labels on glass bottles are a nasty thing. Since the Ellensburg glass recycling cooperative has grown to over 75 active glass ambassadors and over 200 household members, we learn a lot!
After crushing more than 10 tons of new sand, we got acquainted with which bottles have plastic labels. Plastic labels must be removed before being made into powdered glass sand to avoid contaminating our soil and water. Plastic waste harms our planet and continues to destroy our diverse ecosystems.
Plastic breaks down, leaving behind microplastics. These microplastics are never completely broken down and will be there forever. They have been found scattered in the ocean, the Columbia River, and even the White Salmon River. They are harmful to animals, soil, water and human health.
Plastics are made from petroleum products. The depletion of resources required to manufacture plastics makes our current climate crisis worse: we need to reduce the amount of petroleum products we use.
Did you know that 40% of the plastic produced is single-use plastic that is used for a short time and then thrown away? Much of it is unnecessary waste that could be replaced with reusable alternatives. The amount of plastic we use adds up.
Perhaps our community may reconsider buying glass products with plastic labels because of the health implications. As a reality check, I am listing some products that use plastic labels on glass containers to help raise consumer awareness of how their shopping decisions can affect our common spaces and dwindling resources. Some brands of products sold in glass containers with plastic labels: Elysian and Budweiser, Lighthouse Salad Dressing, Honest Tea, Starbucks, Calypso, Virgil’s, Synergy, Crofters Jam, Spectrum Oil, and most Kombuchas.
Raising our own awareness and writing companies that use plastic labels to call for change is a first step towards a healthier, more livable world.