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Sea glass, a treasure formed from trash, is on the decline as single-use plastic takes over

Still Waters

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When you stroll along a beach, you may look down and spot colorful bits of worn glass mixed in with the sand. But the little treasures you’ve found actually began as discarded trash.

Prior to the proliferation of single-use plastics starting in the early 1970s, glass was the container of choice. People in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome used glass for windows, bottles, plates, bowls and more.

In the mid-20th century, people across the United States had milk bottles delivered to their homes, and soda came in glass bottles. After these glass containers served their purpose, users would toss them into a dump.

Before the environmental movements of the 1960s, trash dumps in the United States were often left open and exposed to rain and wind. As many of these trash heaps sat near waterways or coves, runoff would wash the trash – including discarded glass bottles – into the ocean.



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My wife has canning jars full of sea glass. 

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