Welcome to a new edition of Left Wondering with Joel Stein, our advice column for paid subscribers of The Lever on how to lead an ethical life in an increasingly unethical world.

Dear Left Wondering,

I have been left wondering for many years why we no longer find beverages, etc. in recyclable glass bottles and jars. Truly recyclable. Doesn’t leach toxins. Is not carcinogenic. Preserves flavors without adding its own. 

Bonus: The ingredients to make it come from the ocean floor. Glass is sustainable. 

It was recycled before recycling became a fad. Probably even long before WWII and ration coupons. Cold beverages taste better when served in an old Mason Jar, especially those made by Boyd.


Aulder Thandurt

Dear Left Wondering,

I’m a 72-year-old woman living in Northern California’s Bay Area. I remember as a child that charitable organizations and children (like me) would collect glass bottles and be reimbursed, a few cents, for each bottle. This was a win/win for the community and the company. Why can’t we return to alternatives (like glass) to plastics and offer incentives to both communities and businesses to make the necessary changes in order to protect our planet for our own good and the good of future generations?


Glass Act

Dear Both of You,

This is an advice column, not a matchmaking service. Nevertheless, I feel like there could be something special between you two. Perhaps you can go on a romantic date in a glass-bottom boat, stay at a hotel with a glass elevator, shop for Waterford Crystal. 

I might, in fact, be able to start a Glass Enthusiast dating app. There are so many of you, that the United Nations declared 2022 the International Year of Glass and even made an “inspirational video” about it, which I definitely did not get all the way through.  

Like both of you and the 254 people who gave that video a thumbs up over the three years it’s been on YouTube, I love glass. I had a glass animal collection as a kid that made me, I like to think, the Tennessee Williams character of J.P. Stevens High School. But we glass folks are artsy types who live in a dream world where we don’t know enough about the hard facts of science.