There’s more than one way to go green, as the whole world tries to reduce its carbon footprint, and car manufacturers invest fortunes in cleaning up their engines and even their factories.
Most Toyota plants produce a significant proportion of their own electricity via solar panels on the roof and Audi has planted thousands of trees.
But one car company has come up with a planet-saving strategy that costs nothing, involves its customers in a feel-good programme of mutual back-slapping and gives people a reason to visit their dealerships even when they have no intention of buying a car.
Fittingly, the company is Jeep, Chrysler’s off-road, out-in-the-wild brand, whose company slogan is ‘Tread lightly’. And the idea involves something that’s already there in abundance – used glass.
Glass, you see, is not a solid material, it’s actually a super-cooled liquid, which means that, just as water can be frozen into ice many times, glass can be recycled infinitely without compromising its quality.
Better still, recycling glass generates 20 percent less air pollution and 50 percent less water pollution than making new glass out of raw sand (while using the same machinery, so even the glass companies love it) and uses less heat.
The energy saved by recycling one bottle can keep a 20-watt energy-saving light-bulb alight for five hours. Multiply that by the number of beers you and your mates drink out of glass dumpies over a weekend – especially one with an important game in it – and you’ll see what Jeep is on about.
Not only that, each bottle recycled saves precious landfill space.
So, Chrysler SA has partnered with the Glass Recycling Company, and by the end of July there will be a glass bank at every Jeep dealership in South Africa. That glass will go to existing glass manufacturers, to lighten substantially their impact on our fragile planet.
Glass Recycling Company CEO Shabeer Jhetam says that currently about 40 percent of glass in South Africa is recycled, up from just 18 percent when the company was formed in 2006. But that’s still less than half, so there’s a long way to go yet.
So, put those empty dumpies and peanut butter jars one side; take them down to your nearest glass bank when next you go shopping, and help Jeep (and everybody else) to tread a little more lightly.
Take your children with you; they will inherit this planet and they had better learn how to look after it.
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