Recycling Glass Containers
Why You Should Recycle Glass
Less energy is needed to melt cullet (ground up old glass) than convert raw material to glass.
Recycled glass generates 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution. A glass container takes a million years to even begin to decompose, the fact is glass can be recycled an infinite amount of times. 9% of household waste is glass.
Preserve Raw Materials
For every ton of glass recycled it will save over a ton of raw materials from being used, including 1,300 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone, and 151 pounds of feldspar. One ton of recycled glass saves the equivalent to 10 gallons of oil in energy.
The Life Cycle of Recycled Glass Containers
Life After the Recycle Bin
Glass can literally live forever in two ways: If not recycled a glass container will spend a million years in a landfill before it will even begin to decompose. However, glass can be recycled an infinite amount of times over that million years. Once glass containers are collected for recycling they are cleaned and sorted by color. They are then crushed (the crushed glass is called cullet), the cullet is then re-melted with raw material and then formed into new glass products.
Facts About Recycled Glass Containers
- Recycling one glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
- Producing a ton of glass from 100% raw materials creates 384 pounds of mining waste. Using 50% recycled glass cuts this waste by about 75%.
- Recycling glass lowers the melting temperature and saves 32% of the energy needed for production of new glass.
- In 2009, about 26 percent of glass in the municipal solid waste stream was recovered for recycling.
- Glass recycling increased from 750,000 tons in 1980 to more than three million tons in 2009.