Glass Recycling Month: why to recycle?
In the past few decades, the use of glass has increased exponentially. What once was a symbol of fragility, vulnerability and sophistication has now become a ubiquitous material. From towering skyscrapers and high-end luxury cars to the most mundane items such as packaging, tableware and handheld electronics, glass has found its way to become a part of our everyday living. Emerging innovations in the field of medicine and electronics have further emphasized on how glass has become an integral component in new-age technology.
However, with the evolving applications of glass, waste management has a long way to keep up. In a 2017 report published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, only 26.6% of the total glass containers in the U.S. landfills have been recycled while the rest are either combusted or landfilled. In the United Kingdom, out of 750 000 tons of flat glass manufactured every year, only 20-30% of that amount is being recycled.
Now, you may ask, "Why should I recycle glass?" The Glass Packaging Institute enumerates the following advantages of glass recycling:
Less energy demand
A 2-3% drop in energy costs can be expected every time 10% of cullet or glass waste is used in the manufacturing process. Melting cullet is less energy intensive as it melts at a lower temperature, compared to making glass from raw materials for the first time.
Saves raw materials
In the glass recycling process, cullet is often mixed with virgin glass materials to produce new end products. Increasing the amount of cullet in the recycling process saves valuable natural resources which also leads to decreased quarrying activities.
Reduced air and water pollution
For every six tons of recycled container glass used, a ton of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is reduced. Additionally, glass produced from recycled glass indirectly reduces related water pollution by 50%.
If you already recycle glass - great. If not, maybe it's time to consider?