Sorting your trash into the appropriate recycling containers is one of the best ways to reduce waste, pollution, and your carbon footprint. Glass forms a significant portion of the trash that is thrown away every day. Rather than letting it pile up in landfills where it poses a threat to safety and the environment, glass can be melted down and molded into a wide range of new glass items such as drinking glasses, window panes, and glass fiber.
How Glass Is Recycled
When glass is collected in recycling containers and delivered to a recycling or manufacturing plant, it is broken down into small pieces known as cullets. These are then crushed, sorted, and cleaned in preparation for mixing with other raw materials such as sand and soda ash. The crushed glass and raw materials are melted in a furnace and shaped into moulds to fabricate new glass shapes of different sizes and colours.
Benefits of Recycling Glass
- Reduced Energy Consumption
The amount of energy required to process recycled glass or cullet is a small fraction of that needed to create glass from its raw materials. Experts claim that recycling one bottle saves about as much power as you would need to power your TV for one-and-a-half hours.
- Reduced CO2 emissions
Using recycled glass not only saves energy, but also reduces your carbon footprint. It is estimated that 1000 tonnes of recycled glass saves around 314 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.
- Conserve the Landscape
Melting recycled glass in furnaces eliminates the need for quarrying and processing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of raw materials per year. This in turn conserves the landscape.
- Reduced Landfill
Recycling broken glass as opposed to disposing of it saves landfill space, which is an increasingly scarce resource, helping to conserve the environment.
- Reduced Waste Disposal Costs
It is estimated that glass constitutes about 8% of household waste by weight. Recycling glass reduces the amount of waste that needs collection and disposal, which in turn reduces the cost of municipal trash collection. Keep in mind that landfill taxes are increasing due to land scarcity.
Increased Public Awareness of the Benefits of Recycling
Glass recycling allows everyone to play an active role in conserving the environment. Making the conscious decision to use recycling containers to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills is the first step to becoming a green member of your community. It also helps create jobs, as it’s estimated that every 100 000 tonnes of glass that goes through recycling creates about 500 jobs.