The biggest advantage of recycling glass – the quality of the material does not degrade, no matter how many times you recycle it. This is very unlike plastic or paper. Glass is 100% recyclable, since it does not degrade if used normally. Glass waste must be separated by its chemical composition – this is usually done at the recycling facility. Many recyclers prefer to also separate it by color, as the material retains its color after post-production. The most common colors are – transparent (or colorless), green and brown.
Advantages of glass recycling
- Glass can be recycled infinitely. Its structure does not deteriorate during the recycling process. Moreover, the process itself is relatively simple.
- Crashed glass ready to be remelted and reused is called “cullet”. Bottles and jast that we use in our everyday life can contain as much as 80% of “cullet”. This makes the process of recycling glass very effective.
- Recycling prevents huge releases of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Recycling 1000 kg of glass prevents the release of 315 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere, according to the researchers.
- There is no shortage of the required natural materials to produce glass – indeed sand, which is the main ingredient, is abundant. However, we do obtain these materials from the environment, therefore, it is better to avoid such an impact altogether. Using 1 kg of recycled glass preserves abut 1.2 kg of raw environmental materials.
- Recycling also reduces the amount of landfill waste. Despite the fact that glass is not toxic and does not pose a direct threat to the environment, it will also stay in the environment almost forever.
- One of the indirect advantages of recycling is – it makes people more conscious about their choices. Recycling glass is relatively easy, many countries have designated collection containers. Moreover, consumers often get a small refund for bringing the used bottles back to the retailers. This makes glass recycling even more widespread. Taking part in such environmentally friendly activities makes people think about their impact on the world around them, which indirectly influences various other aspects of life, making us more sustainable.
The first stage of any recycling process depends on the consumer. More specifically, the consumers bring their used glass containers to the recycling containers, curbside bins, etc. Then, recycling facilities collect this deposited glass, bring it to the facility and divide it by type (and/or color). The same recycling facilities usually separate it from various contaminants – paper stickers, corks or food leftovers. The recycling facility subsequently crashes glass and sells the resulting “cullet” to the manufacturers. The container manufacturers melt the “cullet” and in some cases add up to 20% of raw materials (melted sand) to it. The resulting mixture is ready for producing new glass bottles and jars. The manufacturer then sells these containers to food and drink suppliers, who finally fill them up with almost any substance you can think of.
You can find some more details about recycling glass in the video below.. The video focuses on recycling in the UK, however, the procedure is pretty similar in other countries. The video also demonstrates just how easy the process actually is!