We see glass everywhere – glass is used for a wide array of grocery items, as decorative pieces, for drinking and bar ware, cook tops, lighting, shelving and much more. Once glass is broken, or in the case of a container its contents are emptied, it is not often seen as useful and subsequently discarded. So, why should we recycle this common household item? The answer is quite simple: Because it is an easily reusable item.
Glass is defined as an amorphous solid material that is usually bright, shiny and brittle. More often than not, it is transparent. The most popular kind of glass, and one which has been utilized for centuries, is composed mainly of silica. Due to its non-crystalline nature, it transitions to a liquid state when heated. Its versatile nature makes it an imperative material to countless industries worldwide.
A major benefit in the recycling of glass is its advantage over plastics, which may not resume their exact original form after enduring a recycling process. As glass is made of sand, it is not harmful to landfills and can be refurbished many times over. However, the fact still remains that it eats up considerable space in landfills. In the year 2009 alone, the US government recycled 3 million tons of glass. Recycling this perfectly reusable item will not only reduce its space in landfills and save on energy, but it is a budget-friendly solution as well.
On a household level, unbroken containers – such as glass bottles – can be easily washed and disinfected thoroughly, so that they can be used again. Glass containers make great drinking options, fun party decor, creative storage solutions and more. On the commercial end of recycling, glass is easily ground up to a sand-like consistency known as cullet, and then sifted and classified through the use of magnets and lasers. After its classification, each type can be melted and manufactured as new glass ready for consumer consumption. Whether recycled in the home or via professional recycling services, energy and materials are saved either way – a win-win situation for all. With glass recycling solutions reducing the home budget via reuse options and aiding the larger, global picture through energy and resource savings, as well as reducing landfill build-up, it is apparent that this is one material that should not simply be tossed out with the trash.