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How Recycled Glass is Made
With the billions of glass used every day in the world, it is no surprise that today’s landfills are overflowing. Interestingly, most people do not realize that glass is actually a reusable material.
Glass makes up a large component of household and industrial waste because of its density and weight. Among other items, common glass waste includes bottles, broken glassware, and light bulbs. The fact that glassing-making methods have close to a fifty percent defect rate adds to the amount of this waste.
Glass is actually one of the world’s simplest compound materials—silica, sand, soda ash, and limestone. When used glass is crushed, it virtually returns to its natural state. Even when dumped in landfill sites, it remains non-toxic and safe for the environment. So why should glass take up so much landfill space when it can actually be used repeatedly?
Glass is 100% recyclable. When any kind of jar or bottle is crushed, melted, and reformed, it can be made into something completely new.
WHERE DOES IT GO and WHAT HAPPENS TO IT?
When glass is taken to a recycling center it is sorted by its product type so there is no chance of cross-contamination. However, only container glass can be used to make new containers. This is because even though the majority of glass contains silica sand, soda ash and limestone, container glass has a distinctly different formulation. If used in recycling, glass used for windows, drinking containers or even laboratory glass can cause quality problems for the industries using it.
HOW IS RECYCLED GLASS MADE?
So how is glass recycled? After the glass is sorted, it is crushed and melted at extremely high temperatures. It forms a material called cullet, which is then combined with virgin raw materials (silica sand, soda ash and limestone), and formed into new glass and even hand-blown items.
Glass waste is separated into by color, depending on the end use and local processing capabilities. Many recycling centers collect different colored glass separately, since glass retains its color. The most common types used for consumer containers are colorless glass, green glass, and brown/amber glass.
HOW IS RECYCLED GLASS USED?
The use of recycled glass materials is gaining in popularity as the world becomes more environmentally responsible. Recycled glass can be used for glassware for dishes, stemware in hand-blown wine glasses, and even glass bottles used for storage—products much like those sold by Are Naturals. Other common household items made from recycled glass are candlesticks, artwork, lampshades, bird feeders, and vases.
Depending on the designer and manufacturer, the product may appear to be made from recycled glass with a rough finish or different colored flecks, or it may have a sleek, highly polished appearance that makes it look new.Recycled glass can also be used in many industrial applications including paving materials, decorative planters, and even artificial turf.
WHAT ARE OTHER WAYS TO RECYCLE GLASS?
Recycling glass doesn’t always have to involve crushing and reforming. It is simple to recycle old jars, bottles, and other glassware simply by finding a new way to use them. Old canning jars and pitchers make excellent vases and candle-holders. Old stemware can hold small, decorative materials such as potpourri. Some glass is even recycled and re-purposed into Eco-friendly jewelry. Just by being creative, you can do your part to help the environment and make the earth a better place for the future.
Since nearly 100% of reclaimed glass is recyclable, glass has one of the highest reclamation rates of any other natural material. By uniting under one green goal to recycle all our glass containers, we can save the earth’s environment, and reduce toxins emitted into the atmosphere when new glass is made. Keeping in mind of all the useful properties, and the beautiful products that are made from recycled glass, much like the ones found at Are Naturals, recycling glass is not only beneficial to the environment, but also for you and your home.