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Recycle glass

Recycle glass, something you can do now!

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If you want to learn to recycle, one of the materials with which you can start from now on in your own home is glass, because it is one of the easiest to separate in your garbage, and because of the benefits it brings to the environment.

Glass is a 100% recyclable material with no loss of strength or quality over and over again. According to Owens-Illinois one of the largest glass manufacturing companies in the world (www.oi.com), glass is the most neutral and natural packaging material. It is also non-toxic and inert, making it safe for the environment.

According to the ISRI (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc., www.ISRI.org) Scrap Yearbook for 2016, glass is made from available household materials and its manufacturing process uses ingredients such as sand, sodium hydroxide, carbonate Sodium, Limestone and Cullet, the industry term for Furnace Ready Glass Scrap. Although glass is recyclable, not all glass containers are recycled. The US Environmental Protection Agency reports that in 2013 about 34% of all glass containers were recycled, so there is plenty of room for improvement.

How to recycle glass?

Glass containers should be disposed of in a separate trash can of plastics and organic waste, all containers are generally differentiated by color. Upon reaching the storage centers, the clear bottles are grouped together, while a brown or red glass bottle is stored in the amber category. The containers are then sent through a cleaning system comprised of filter screens to remove non-glass items such as metal lids, corks, plastic, and trash. Later, the glass is broken into smaller pieces. The final size depends on how the manufacturers will use the recycled glass.

Right now, amber glass from our local recycling program is being used to make new beer bottles. Clear glass is shipped to be made into hot sauce bottles and other food grade bottles. Green glass is ground into a finer powder and shipped to fiberglass insulation manufacturers. Insulation manufacturers in the state of Georgia in the United States use between 20 and 40% recycled glass in their products. Blue glass is sometimes used to make new countertops or landscaping materials. In general, 90% of bottles and jars are used to make new bottles and jars.

According to the ISRI report, for every ton of glass recycled, more than a ton of raw materials are saved, including 1.300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of sodium carbonate, 380 pounds of limestone and 160 pounds of feldspar. In the United States, glass bottles and jars tend to contain an average of 40% recycled glass or recycled glass. Some companies can make containers with 95% recycled glass! However, the amount of recycled content in a product is limited by how much we recycle in the first place.

In our community, bottles and jars accepted for recycling are food grade containers that are normally found in a grocery store.

Glass is a noble material that after its recycling process and forging at high temperatures can become multiple products such as:

  • Sandpaper and abrasives. Glass is used in sandpaper of all kinds in different types of thicknesses for the furniture manufacturing industry, metals, and industrial processes that require reducing or polishing its pieces.
  • Pavements and cements for roads. Mixed with asphalt or cement, it not only adds a brighter appearance, but also adds strength and a thermal insulating property that the tracks require in turn to prevent the tires and the road itself from degrading.
  • Sanitary pieces. Glass is a basic element for the elaboration of sinks, toilets, etc.
  • Bricks. Added to the bricks, it makes them resistant to heat, improving the internal insulation of the houses, and therefore, energy savings by not having to turn on air conditioners.

The process of recycling glass, moreover, provides a direct benefit in saving gasoline in bottle manufacturing plants, for example. Well, to melt bottle waste the temperature and time used is lower than to make a new bottle. The millions of liters of fuel saved prevent the pollutants from those fuels from going into the air, and therefore into your lungs.

Recycle now! Separate the glass from the rest of your waste. If in your community the collection company does not have separate deposits for this, organize and take them to a nearby glass recycling plant once a month.

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