• Michael Stachowitsch


Bottles, jars, light bulbs, ashtrays, and the occasional windowpane (glass objects and their fragments) are ubiquitous along waterways, riverbanks, and beaches and regularly make the “top 10” list of items collected during annual beach cleanups. They are a painfully obvious form of marine debris (especially when crunched underfoot). Floating bottles encrusted with living organisms also pose an environmental hazard by introducing “alien” species to faraway habitats. And because glass doesn’t rust or otherwise decompose in the water or sunlight, it can remain intact for centuries on the seafloor, be buried in the sand, or be nestled in the dunes. Distinctive shapes and designs help beach detectives quickly identify most glass products. Almost all the Rs (rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle) apply to glass bottles, as does upcycling – check out the Internet for untold uses of bottles and glass fragments (sea glass, “mermaids’ tears”). Of course, you might be lucky and discover a valuable glass fishing buoy or a message-in-a-bottle!


Alien species Bottle Buoy Light bulb Message-in-a-bottle Rafting Recycling Sea glass Upcycling 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Stachowitsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Limnology and Bio-OceanographyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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