As I researched this article I felt I had, like Alice, stepped through the looking glass and into an alternative world.

I stumbled on how to turn trees into window panes and the claim that good old glass never tires of recycling.

Glass is heavy and breaks, both undesirable features for transportation, while plastic is light, doesn't smash and travels well.

So in recent years plastic has replaced glass to the extent that some supermarket aisles are virtually glass free and heavily plastic.

But this is much more damaging for our overcrowded and warming planet, not just because the plastic is made from fossil fuels but because we now understand the implications of global plastic pollution and are beginning to see what that is costing us.

The ideal scenario would be for the world's plastic needs to fall drastically by substituting it with glass and other friendly materials and where plastic is essential to make items from recyclable plastic and ban types like polystyrene.

So my main message is if you have the choice of a plastic or glass bottle or jar choose the glass if you can.

It is not made from oil, has a smaller carbon footprint and can be 100 per cent recycled again and again.

This property is very unusual because paper, wood, cloth, plastic etc degrade with repeated cycles or are tricky to separate from other components.

Not so the glass jar or bottle - once the tops, corks and labels are gone the whole lot gets crushed, melted and remoulded into more bottles and jars.

In the kerbside bin all colours of glass are collected, sometimes along with cans and tins but at large bottle banks the different colours are separated.

White glass crushed up (it looks like coarse salt and is called cullet) is reprocessed mostly in the UK but green and brown cullet goes to France and Germany for wine and beer bottles.

So clear glass, probably first made by the Egyptians about 100AD is full of virtues.

We should use it far and recycle it carefully.

How lovely if more deposit schemes meant fewer empties in the park.

Dr Laurel Spooner

Climate change campaigner

While Laurel is saying use more glass as an infinitely recyclable container, I have found we may need to use much less in our buildings.

In energy terms, glass is extremely inefficient. Windows leak heat on cold winter nights and turn buildings into greenhouses on summer days.

There are emerging glass technologies such as smart glass, which control the amount of heat and light passing through windows, reducing energy consumption and converting sunshine into energy.

But this is unlikely to be used in our homes soon.

Even triple glazed glass loses three times as much heat as a cavity brick wall with a little bit of insulation in it, and 10 times as much as a well-insulated wall.

Each metre square of glass, even if triple glazed, loses ten times as much heat as a wall.

So how can buildings be designed today for tomorrow’s weather?

As the world warms and extreme weather becomes more common, sustainable architecture is likely to mean less glass, and heating, lighting, energy supply, air con, escalators and IT networks will have to be stripped right back to minimise energy use.

Those services which do remain must use almost no energy, and perhaps generate the energy they need themselves.

Cutting back on big windows, and shading those we keep, would make it much easier to keep our homes and workplaces warm in winter and cool in summer.

Though, of course, we still need to see the view and have natural light and air.

Buildings in Mediterranean countries like Greece are cool in summer without needing air conditioning, because heavyweight, thick-walled buildings with small openings are so much better insulated.

The building and construction sectors account for more than a third of global energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Of course we need buildings to live and work in, but while we are all trying to cut our personal carbon footprint by eating less meat, getting back on our bikes and thinking before using all our electrical appliances, we really don’t want our buildings to be undoing all our good work.

The least we should ask of our architects and town planners is that all new builds, for whatever purpose, are built to be zero carbon.

There should be an ambitious retrofit programme to make all our older buildings energy efficient.

Tell your councillor and MP when they ask for your vote.

Jill Bruce

Women's Institute climate change ambassador