Glass Recycling Facts
- The fibreglass, container and packaging industry collectively procure around 3 million tons of recycled glass every year which is recycled and repurposed for the production of new glass containers, jars and fibreglass items.
- Glass makes up to 80% of all the beverage containers that are consumed at bars, restaurants and hotels.
- Manufacturers can enjoy several benefits from glass recycling. These benefits range from reduced emissions and lower consumption of raw materials to increased energy efficiency and extended service life of vital plant equipment.
- Glass recycling that equates to 1,000 tons creates around 8 employment opportunities.
Reasons to Recycle Glass
- Recycling glass instead of making it from silica sand reduces mining waste by 70%, water use by 50%, and air pollution by 20%.
- Glass bottles can be recycled and restored to store shelves in just 30 days.
- Glass bottles and jars are the heaviest packaging form when they end up in landfills.
- Recycling glass reduces both your carbon footprint and your energy usage.
- Recycling saves up to 95% of raw materials needed for producing virgin glass.
- The glass packaging used for foods and beverages is 100% recyclable.
- Every ton of glass that is recycled saves a ton of natural resources.
- Glass is also great for upcycling projects if you cannot recycle.
An easy way to start the glass recycling process is by using a glass crusher at a business or recycling center for processing jars, bottles, and other glass items that would otherwise end up in the trash. Small glass crushers can turn glass into 1-2” cullet suitable for transportation as the density is increased by over 90%. Larger glass crushers can turn glass into instantly recyclable end product as small as 100 mesh – sand particles.
Using a glass crusher onsite allows manufacturers to ensure complete safety during the glass recycling process and the crushed glass can be used as filler material in concrete projects instead of sand to minimize the cost. Crushed glass can also be used for landscaping gardens as glass mulch does not absorb moisture and helps conserve water. Other uses of crushed glass include nontoxic abrasives for etching and as filter water.
The Glass Recycling Process
Once you toss the glass mix into the recycling bin, it goes through the following 5 steps:
Local waste haulers collect the glass recycling mix containing glass jars and bottles from the dropoff bin.
This glass recycling mix is then dumped into a huge pile where it is checked to ensure there are no bulky items like metal chunks or wooden pieces that can damage glass crushers or hurt employees. The glass recycling mix is then moved on to a conveyor belt where all the plastic bags are manually pulled out and other materials like plastic, paper, cardboard and metal are automatically separated.
Throughout this procedure, glass jars and bottles are broken down by glass crushers to create shards that are small enough to fall on a separate conveyor belt that transports the recycling mix to a specialized processor.
The recycling mix is then passed through different screens and magnets for cleaning out all the unwanted materials including food, metal caps, cans, wooden corks and other pieces.
- Segregating by Color
The next step in this sequence is sorting the glass recycling mix using optical sorting machines. This optical machine employs air jets to blow and separate different glass types.
- Mixing and Molding
The clean glass recycling mix is then added to soda ash, limestone and sand and melted for moulding. Finally, it is shaped into new glass jars, bottles and containers and other forms for use in the fiberglass industry.