The Wonderful Reuse of Glass
Glass is the one item that can be recycled over and over again. It never looses quality like other products do. Today at least 25% of the glass that is used in items you buy has been recycled. The goal is to significantly increase it. In fact, there is absolutely no reason at all for glass to go to the landfills. The quality of it never diminishes after many times of being recycled.
When glass is taken to a processing plant, it has to be sorted. Unlike other types of materials for recycling this one can’t all be lumped together. It has to be sorted by color. For example clear bottles, brown bottles, green bottles, etc. This is due to the fact that the colors can affect the types of chemicals that will be used to break down the glass into a usable form.
The glass that fits into a given category is smashed into what are known as cullets. They are tiny pieces of glass. This allows any forms of materials or contamination from the inside or outside of the glass to be removed. Labels on the bottles made from paper are also removed.
For those bottles that have the label information on them directly, a process called fine sizing takes place to remove it. Next it is all melted so that it is all in a liquid form. If the glass is to be colored then coloring is added so that it will be the right shade. The next steps involve the liquid being poured into molds. This allows them to harden and then you have new glass items.
In 2009 approximately 3 million tons of glass was recovered and used for recycling purposes. In some states including California consumers can turn in their glass to be recycled and make money from it. That money adds up quickly to ensure that people are enticed to begin turning in the glass that they use.
Even in areas where there is no payment for glass, items can be saved and then returned to a collection area. Many schools and communities off bins for such items to be placed in. Sometimes you will see three trash cans in a row. They are for trash, paper, and for glass. By sorting the items that way it helps to ensure that the entity offering those cans will be able to distribute as much as they can to recycling areas.
Recycling just one glass bottle can make a huge difference. It can offer enough power for your computer to last an hour. Given the fact that people use their computers and at home 10 to 12 hours a day it is a huge benefit to be able to save that energy. If you were to recycle all of the glass you use annually, then it would cover all of the use of power for your computer for a year too.
It is estimated that by 2013 there will be enough power saved through the recycling of glass to offer 45,000 households energy for an entire year. It will also be enough to take about 180,000 tons of waste from being placed into the landfills. It also costs much less to recycle glass to make new products than it does to create them from raw materials.
That amount of landfill area saved in a single year is amazing. Since every bit of glass can be recycled it is a good idea to buy items that are packaged that way instead of plastic as only part of the plastic can be salvaged. Plastic also loses quality the more it is recycled and glass never will.