Recycling Glass: A How-To Guide
Recycling glass is a great way for everyone to do their part for the environment and make a positive impact. It has countless benefits including saving resources, reducing emissions, and conserving energy. Knowing how to properly recycle and reuse glass is a key component in protecting the planet. But where should you start? Read on to learn how you can become an expert in effectively recycling and reusing glass!
1. What is Recycling Glass?
Recycling glass is a process in which old glass items are melted and reformed into new objects. It’s one of the most environmentally-friendly ways of reusing glass, as it reduces landfill waste and conserves energy by avoiding the need to create glass from new raw materials. Furthermore, recycling glass consumes 30% less energy than manufacturing it from raw materials.
Recycling glass involves sorting and washing old glass items. Contaminants, such as metal or plastic, must then be removed. The glass is then broken down into small particles and heated to a very high temperature until the particles become liquid. This liquid can then be molded into whatever shape is desired.
Here are some of the common types of recycled glass products you can find now:
- Insulation is commonly made from recycled glass.
- Fibreglass is created from recycled glass particles.
- Recycled glass can also be used in ceramics.
- Countertops are often made from recycled glass.
- Glass that cannot be reused is often crushed into the form of gravel.
2. Benefits of Recycling Glass
Recycling glass is an easy way to properly dispose of glass and turn it into something new. Not only that, but glass recycling also has many environmental benefits.
- Reduce Landfill Waste: Glass is non-biodegradable, so when disposed of improperly it will remain in our landfills forever. Recycling glass prevents this and reduces the amount of space being taken up in landfills.
- Energy Savings: The process of recycling glass uses 40 percent less energy than creating new glass from raw material. This means less coal and oil being burned and less pollution being released into the atmosphere.
- More Resources: Creating glass from scratch requires raw materials like sand, soda ash, and limestone. Recycling glass eliminates the need for these resources, giving them a longer lifespan and conserving their use.
- Water Conservation: Manufacturing new glass uses large amounts of water which is often not recycled. Recycling old glass means less water is needed in the process, leading to a decrease in wasted water and potential runoff pollution.
In addition to these environmental benefits, recycling glass helps create jobs by creating new glass products and helping reduce the demand for raw materials. This helps boost the economy in both local and global markets.
3. How to Sort and Prepare Glass For Recycling
Glass is an eco-friendly material with advantages for the environment, but unlike other recyclables, glass requires a few extra steps before it can be ready for recycling. Read on to learn how to sort and prepare glass for the recycling bin.
Separate By Type. Before it can be recycled, glass needs to be sorted by type according to the use of each type:
- Clear Glass – Eggs, juice, liquor, beer, bottles, and jars.
- Green Glass – Beer and wine bottles.
- Amber Glass – Beer and wine bottles.
- Non-Glass Items – Ceramic, Pyrex, and broken glass.
Clean and dry the glass. Rinse the glass bottles and jars with clean water until all dirt and residue are removed. Always check the labels to ensure that all non-glass materials, such as bottle caps and labels, are taken off the glass surface. Allow the glass to dry fully before recycling.
4. How to Dispose of Recycled Glass
The good news is there are plenty of ways to dispose of recycled glass. However, it’s important to keep in mind that local recycling facilities may have their own guidelines when it comes to disposing of glass.
Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Find out local guidelines: Depending on your area, the local recycling facility may not accept recycled glass. It’s best to find out the guidelines beforehand so there won’t be any missteps.
- Separate glass by color: If you’re able to properly dispose of glass, make sure you separate glass materials by color. This will make it easier for the facility to process.
If you’re unable to use the local recycling facility, you have other options available. You can contact private companies that specialize in glass recycling, or you can even offer free recycled glass to people who may be interested in using it. This can be a great way to get rid of the glass while also helping out the community.
5. Tips for Eco-Friendly Recycling
Recycling can be an effective way to reduce your environmental impact, but it’s important to do it in the right way for maximum efficiency. Here are five tips for smart eco-friendly recycling:
- Sort your items. To ensure that items are recycled in the most efficient manner, be sure to sort your materials into categories like paper, glass, plastic, and metal.
- Avoid cross-contamination. When recycling, it’s important to make sure that recycling bin contents are clean enough to avoid cross-contaminating other recyclable materials.
- Remove lids and caps. Many municipalities require residents to remove lids and caps from items when recycling and discard them separately.
- Research facilities. Not all recycling facilities accept the same materials. Contact your municipality or nearby facilities to get information about what types of materials can be recycled.
- Compost food waste. Yard and food waste is a great source of compostable material. Composting not only diverts material from landfills but it also creates nutrient-rich soil for your home garden and outdoor plants.
Reusing is the most important step to reduce strain on our environment, so whenever possible try to find new uses for items that would normally be thrown away. With a little bit of effort, eco-friendly recycling will become second nature.
Recycling glass has both environmental and economic benefits, and with the information in this how-to guide, you can do your part to help the environment while also saving a bit of money in the process. So make sure you gather up those empty glass containers, separate them, and get them to your nearest glass recycling center. Now go out and start recycling!