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Glass recycling has been in practice for almost 3,000 years now. It forms an integral part of the history of recycling, and today, glass bottles and jars are recycled regularly.
In recent years, glass use has been on a steady increase over plastic, and this is because of the health and environmental effects of plastic. For instance, plastic contains toxins that can be hazardous to our bodies.
Also, these toxins are emitted whenever plastic is subjected to heat. Glass is a lot better than plastic because recycling plants can recycle it several times. However, it is essential to note that not all glass can be recycled, and for glass that can be recycled, some require different recycling methods. Domestic waste glass, which is also referred to as a cullet, is easy to recycle.
This comprises glass containers like bottles and jars. The glass sector is projected to have attained a 90% glass collection rate by 2030. Bottle banks are often used in collecting glass, and it is essential to always remember to clear glass jars during collection. Therefore, before you dispose of your glass product in a bin, you might need to check out the following.
Glass That Can Be Recycled
In most cases, kitchen glassware for food and other items is entirely recyclable. Items like jars, food storage, and condiment containers can be placed in a recycling bin. However, glasses are not all the same. The simplest way to know if you can recycle your glass or not is by checking its recycling code. You can place your glass in a recycle bin if your recycling programs approve it.
Glass That Cannot Be Recycled
Ceramic items are a lot like glass, but it is important to note that they are made of clay. Glass can be recycled because it can be melted down and designed into a new shape. Clay, on the other hand, cannot melt, but there are different processes by which it is crushed and water added to reshape it. However, this doesn’t take place at recycling plants.
The best method to get rid of ceramics in a sustainable way is by selling or donating them. You’ll find people who would find your ceramics useful. Another option is to use the ceramic you want to recycle for gardening or any other household use.
Recycling plants cannot recycle glass with decorative features like foiling, painting, or colour because these features aren't recyclable. Whenever glass is melted, it can serve other purposes of which decorative features may be contaminants. Like ceramics, the best way to get rid of decorative glass is by selling or donating it. However, you’ll need to make sure that the glass is in good condition.
Also, you cannot recycle window glass with standard glass because it is built for durability and has a different melting point.
Environmental Impact Of Recycling Glass
Producing and using glass has different environmental impacts. Glass is made from limestone, soda ash, sand, and other additives for aesthetic appeal. Most of the materials used in the production of glass need to be quarried, and this requires energy and natural resources for extraction and processing.
Glass is 100% recyclable, and this can be done without losing its quality. This implies that we can do the following by recycling glass:
• Reduce the emission of carbon dioxide from limestone and other carbonate raw materials
• Reduce fuel usage of non-renewable fossils
Reasons For Recycling Glass
It takes about 30 days to completely recycle a glass jar to a recycled wine glass, a recycled wine bottle, or something completely different.
There are so many reasons for recycling glass, and they include:
• Glass bottles and jars are made of a single material that is easy to recycle.
• Glass generally comprises limestone, sand, and soda ash, all of which are non-toxic and can be broken down easily and reformed.
• Recycling a ton of glass will save about 600kg of carbon dioxide emissions. Also, glass can be recycled endlessly, which is energy saving.
Here are some of the things to use recycled glass jars for:
• You can turn them into glass tumblers for mocktails or cocktails
• To freeze leftovers
• Use them as portable salad containers, or containers for sauces and dressings
• Convert them to glass recycled candle jars
• Store leftovers in your fridge
• Filling jars for chutneys, jams, and pickles
• Recycled glass vases for tables
• Create a zero waste pantry
• To store dried foods
Glass Recycling Process
Managing glass waste disposal can be an arduous task, but here’s all you need to know. Glass recycling is the process of converting waste glass into usable products. The method includes washing, crushing, melting, and moulding glass into bottles and jars. What’s more, this cycle can be repeated several times while maintaining the quality of glass.
In order to recycle glass, glass is first collected from different places and brought back to a recycling facility for proper storage. The collected glass is then transported to an appropriate glass treatment plant. At the treatment plant, the glass goes through a series of pre-treatment processes.
This ensures that plastic and paper materials are removed; blown air is used for this purpose. Also, magnets are used for removing metallic materials. After pre-treatment, the glass is sorted out based on colour before it is washed thoroughly to remove impurities. This should be carefully done to ensure the recycled glass will not contain contaminants. The washed glass is then crushed and melted before moulding it into new items like bottles and jars. Glass is a versatile material that can be applied in many ways. Another fantastic quality of glass is that it does not degrade quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can All Glass Be Recycled?
The melting point of glass varies according to the type of glass, and as such, some glass can withstand hot temperatures while others are designed for cold temperatures. Also, recycling companies don’t always accept all types of glass.
For example, some companies accept only food and beverage bottles and jars, while others accept only glass drinking cups, Pyrex, window glass, glass vases, test tubes, and lab glass.
What Should I Do If My Drinking Glasses Break?
Glass beverage bottles and jars are easy to recycle. Therefore, you can easily place drinking glasses in your recycle bin if they break so that they can be processed and moulded into something new.
However, this completely depends on the recycling program you use. As mentioned earlier, not all recycling programs accept the different types of glass for the recycling process.
Can Broken Glass Be Recycled?
You’ll also need to ensure that your recycling program can accept this type of glass. Recycling plants may not recycle glass from broken windows and glass containers because it is dangerous to collect and sort. Therefore, safely dispose of broken glass to avoid injuries.
How Do I Recycle Burned-Out Lightbulbs?
Incandescent light bulbs cannot be recycled, and as such, they should be neatly wrapped and disposed of in the garbage. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs are hazardous waste and must be disposed of appropriately. These lightbulbs should not be landfilled because of the potential hazards they pose.
How Do I Recycle Lab Glass?
Glass recycling plants cannot recycle all laboratory test tubes, but the brown glass bottles are recyclable. Before recycling lab bottles, it is vital to ensure that they are adequately emptied. This is to avoid the introduction of unwanted chemicals to the recycling process.
Still Confused? Ask A Professional For Assistance
With so many different kinds of glass on the market, it is difficult to know what can and can't be recycled accurately. As is the case in most instances, it is always preferable to get a second opinion concerning the recycling of glass products. For this exact reason, it is advised that you contact the services of a reliable professional who is clued up in the process of glass recycling.