Walking to campus the morning after Homecoming, it was impossible to ignore the shattered glass that littered University Avenue and Aberdeen Street thanks to students drinking from glass bottles. Even now, nearly two weeks after, shards of glass stick out every few feet.

While it might be fun to smash glass bottles (or easier than properly disposing of them), it has many negative implications that people don't consider. Namely, dogs who cannot avoid the glass are at risk. This video shared on the Alma Mater Society (AMS) Facebook page features two Queen's dogs, Poppy and Ben. Check it out to see ways in which glass is harmful to animals—and to see two cute puppies.

The Problem

Outcry ness photo by Mario Caruso (@giggiulena) on Unsplash

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When glass ends up on the ground in a public place, it will stay there for a while. This is because glass is one of the longest-lasting materials made by humans. Essentially, broken glass on sidewalks won't go away until someone cleans it up.

When students walk to class through the streets near campus, it's still dangerous to walk near glass but we're aware enough to avoid stepping on it. However, for animals, shards of glass pose a greater risk.

Dog owners walk their pets daily, and pets don't wear shoes like we do. They are also very energetic and often run around outdoors. Their paws can be seriously hurt if they step on glass and other sharp objects.

What You Can Do

Tailgate Szn photo by Bryan Angelo (@bryanangelo) on Unsplash

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If possible, start buying cans instead of bottles. For one thing, they're easier to transport. Plus, it's more likely that your cans will be recycled than your glass bottles. Studies have shown that 55% of aluminum cans get recycled. Instead, only 34% of glass containers will be recycled.

Otherwise, collect your bottles and return them to The Beer Store or the LCBO! You can get money back for doing it through the Ontario Deposit Return Program (Bag It Back). For containers that hold 630mL or less, and aluminum or steel containers that hold 1L or less, you will receive 10 cents each. For containers that hold more than 630mL, and aluminum or steel containers that hold more than 1L, you will receive 20 cents each.

This may not seem like a lot, but it adds up after time. Also, it's better than the $0.00 you receive from smashing a glass bottle. You can find out more about recycling glass bottles and sustainability here.

Glass, broken, beer and bottle HD photo by chuttersnap (@chuttersnap) on Unsplash

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Alternatively, keep your bottles (and cans) and donate them to local sports teams or other organizations who are raising money. Teams and clubs from campus conducting bottle drives come knocking door-to-door several times throughout the year looking for bottles and cans as a fundraiser. This way, you know your glass bottles and cans are going towards a good cause. 

Regardless, next time you're drinking from a glass bottle, be mindful of disposing of it properly. Local puppies and their owners will thank you for it, and you might be able to make some extra cash while you're at it.