Everyday we encounter products containing glass; unfortunately, they make up a large percentage of our municipal solid waste stream. In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency noted that although glass mainly enters our trash in the form of bottles and jars, it also appears in everything from appliances and electronics to furniture (see References 1, page 43). Learning the types of glass that are recyclable, ...
In 2009, America only recycled 31 percent of its glass containers and 28 percent of plastic bottles. Yet these containers are 100 percent recyclable and, in most cities, recycling is available along with garbage pickup. Recycling plastic and glass helps people use less of the planet's natural resources, leaving more resources for future generations. Start recycling your household's used plastic and glass containers ...
U.S. citizens sent more than 11 million tons of glass to landfills and recycling centers in 2009 (see References 1, page 4). Glass is most often used for food and beverage containers, although aluminum and plastic manufacturers also compete for this market. Glass recycling offers many benefits to the consumer, the environment and the glass industry itself (see References 2).
From a manufacturing viewpoint, giving second life to recycled glass is preferable to making virgin glass. For one thing, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that processing recycled glass is kinder to the environment (see References 1). For another, crushed post-consumer glass, known in the industry as "cullet," is cheaper than the cost of raw materials and it melts faster. Finally, uses for recycled ...
More Articles on Recycle Glass
Glass accounts for 7 percent of the garbage produced in the United States by weight, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (see References 1). Unlike some materials, glass can be repeatedly recycled without losing its quality or strength, so glass manufacturers use crushed, recycled glass, called cullet, to reduce their production costs for glass items of many descriptions (see References 2).
Specialty glassware can't be recycled with glass jars or bottles because it contains substances not found in regular container glass (see References 1). But if you lose a few pieces of glassware to breakage, you needn't throw out the rest of the set --- instead, repurpose the remaining pieces into functional home accessories. You can turn wine glasses, cups and plates into everyday home accents, decor for special celebrations or inexpensive gifts for your family and friends. These simple reuse projects will keep your old glassware out of the landfill while making room in your cupboard for a new set.
The average American generates 82 lbs. of glass each year, yet Americans only recycle about 26 percent of it (see References 1 and 2). Recycling glass produces 20 percent less air pollution and 50 percent less water pollution than producing new glass, while saving 68 percent of the energy (see References 1). Recycled glass is just as strong as new glass, but it requires a significant amount of processing to avoid any impurities and breakage.
Glass is a remarkable material made from quartz sand, soda ash and limestone. People use glass containers to dispense and store a wide variety of things, including caustic chemicals, lightning bugs, baby food, wayward buttons and coins. Glass is so versatile that it's also completely recoverable, meaning that it can be recycled over and over again without losing its original properties.
Recycling does more than just keep renewable resources from the landfill --- it reduces your impact on the environment beyond your immediate sphere. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, much of the municipal waste stream is recyclable, but the average American throws out more than 1,130 pounds of garbage per year (see References 1). The agency reports that besides saving landfill space, recycling glass, aluminum and plastic containers saves a considerable amount of energy compared to creating new products from raw materials (see References 4).
Imagine a sparkling ribbon of color leading you through the garden, from the street to your front step. It's not a fantasy, it's recycling. Building a tumbled glass path is an energy-saving and environmentally friendly way to reuse recycled bottles in your garden (See Reference 1). Recycled glass is a permeable substitute for concrete walks, allowing water to soak into the soil and reducing storm water run-off (See Reference 7).