Brian Palmer makes a good point in his Tuesday article in the Colorado Daily that glass jars are healthier than plastic ones — which often leach endocrine disruptors into our food — but that the environmental cost to transport and recycle the heavier glass is still too high. In this, he implies that plastic is the best solution. But it is not the best solution.

We do not live in a world of black or white, where all choices are simply option A (live with unhealthy plastic) or option B (live with the high environmental cost of melting glass). It's important to recognize that glass jars can be cleaned and reused locally; this removes the environmental cost of melting glass to recycle them. Glass reuse is still prevalent in many countries, especially those in South America and the Middle East. Glass can also be reused almost indefinitely, whereas plastic degrades much faster, and degradation often leads to leaching.

Recall that America was built from very little. Like other countries today, there was a time when we used and reused all of the things we had. Now that we can afford to throw things away, let's not forget the importance of managing resources well. We have come a long way in terms of lifestyle and technology; building a program to reuse glass locally is trivial, as long as consumers participate. The pressing question becomes would you — a reader and consumer — participate in a program to "return glass for reuse"?

Laura Brower

Boulder