We love to recycle our trash items in America. Especially plastics, paper, and cans. But we tend to do much less of it when it comes to recycling glass.
Glass ranks right up there with steel and aluminum as a prime candidate for recycling. That's because it can be recycled again and again almost endlessly. Unless it goes to a landfill.
What We Know About Glass and Glass Recycling
We live in a world that surrounds us with glass.
We use glass in our buildings, our homes, our vehicles, our appliances, and in thousands of consumer products. Glass is an ancient, reliable, long-lasting and resilient material that can potentially last forever.
Glass is an incredible material as is highlighted by the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI),
- Glass is 100 percent recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity.
- Glass is made from common, domestic materials, such as sand, soda ash, and limestone.
- Glass production also used “cullet,” the industry term for furnace-ready recycled glass.
- The only ingredient used greater amounts than cullet is sand.
- Recycled glass can be substituted for up to 95% of raw materials.
- Using recycled glass reduces emissions and consumption of raw materials, extends the life of plant equipment, such as furnaces, and saves energy.
So, how much glass do we actually recycle since there is no good reason to send it off to a landfill?
According to the EPA, in 2018, the US recovered 39.6 percent of the beer and soft drink bottles for recycling. Along with those, we managed to recycle 39.8 percent of wine and liquor bottles and 15.0 percent of food and other types of glass.
That all added up to just over 33 percent of all glass food and beverage containers being recycled.
And that begs the question, "What happens to the rest of the waste glass we throw out?"
What We Know About the Glass Recycling Process
To make new glass products, glass manufacturers use "cullet" - a granular material made up of glass from crushed bottles and jars - that is mixed with sand, limestone, and other raw materials to manufacture glass container products.
While glass food and beverage containers are 100 percent recyclable, this is not the case with most other types of glass.
The glass in products such as windows, ovenware, Pyrex, appliance glass, and serving crystal is produced through different processes. Consequently, these materials cannot be used as "cullet" in the glass container manufacturing process, as they can cause production problems and defective containers.
For container products, useable furnace-ready cullet must also be free of contaminants like metals, ceramics, gravel, stones, and soil. In other words, clean glass is required. Colored glass adds to the sorting issues, as well.
Container glass manufacturers can only use limited amounts of mixed color-cullet in the process of manufacturing new containers. This means that recycled container glass must be separated by color to ensure that new bottles and jars meet the color standards required by glass container customers.
Other types of recycled glass containers can't be used in for new glass bottles and jars or even for making fiberglass. Often this is because there's too much contamination in the mix or the recycled glass pieces are too small to meet manufacturing specifications.
In addition, many times there are no nearby markets for bottle-to-bottle recycling.
However, all of this otherwise "unusable" recovered glass can be used for non-container glass products. These "secondary" uses for recycled container glass can include tile, filtration, sand blasting, concrete pavements, and parking lots.
Despite the inherent limitations in using recovered glass for recycled container glass as cullet, over a ton of natural resources are saved for every ton of glass recycled.
In addition, it contributes to lowering CO2 emissions.
According to GPI.org,
For every six tons of recycled container glass used, a ton of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is reduced. A relative 10% increase in cullet reduces particulates by 8%, nitrogen oxide by 4%, and sulfur oxides by 10%.
The bottom line is that recycling glass - all types of glass - is still a viable process and one that has huge returns. And although we are doing a decent job as a nation when it comes to recycling glass, the real potential for maximizing glass recycling has yet to be reached.
So, the environmentally friendly and eco-conscious thing to do is to make it a priority to always put glass waste products into the proper recycling containers wherever and whenever you can. And, if you happen to have large amounts of waste glass to get rid of, then you can call Junk King.
Got Glass? Junk King can be Your Glass Recycling Partner
Calling Junk King is a truly simple and efficient bulk recycling option.
Junk King provides professional junk hauling services for everyone to remove all types of junk. And this includes anything made with glass along with other items and materials such as your excess trash and garbage.
We also have the equipment and resources to remove and haul off refrigerators, washers, and other appliances down small stairways, up out of basements, or out through the garage.
Whatever your junk consists of, Junk King can help you get it out of the way.
We offer a genuinely eco-friendly junk removal service to help you get rid of any unwanted junk, large trash items, or any old appliances.
Our professional and insured appliance disposal team will show up at your home or office; we call 15 minutes before we arrive on site and we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your junk takes up in our truck. You point and we haul your unwanted items into our junk removal trucks, with no hidden fees.
It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3. You make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).