In recent years the percentage of recycling of glass packaging has increased dramatically: today more than 70% of the bottles placed on the market have been created from recycled glass from separate collection.
Of all the materials, glass is the eco-sustainable packaging par excellence.
Glass can be recycled countless times without ever losing quality thanks to its peculiar characteristics:
chemical and biological inertia;
impermeable to liquids, gases and micro-organisms;
the perfect ecological compatibility.
From 1 kg of waste it is possible to obtain 1 kg of new glass, thus obtaining a yield of 100%.
But why is it so important to put the glass back in circulation? What are the measures for a correct collection? And how does the recovery process take place?
Let’s discover together the 3 things you need to know about glass recycling in this article.
1. The importance of glass recycling
Recycling has become a real necessity for our planet, increasingly altered by pollution and constantly deprived of its primary resources.
This is why a new production and consumption model called the circular economy has been introduced, which allows extending the life cycle of products by reducing the amount of waste.
The symbol of this new economy is precisely glass, its recycling is in fact a fundamental operation to reduce the environmental impact.
Through the recovery of what has already been created, the recycling of glass allows to:
reduce pollution by 20% air and 50% water;
save energy: by recycling a single bottle you can save the energy needed to keep a 100 watt bulb on for 5 hours;
preserve the raw materials (silica sand, soda, limestone..) used in the production stages.
2. How to recycle glass
The glass recycling process begins with separate collection, a system that involves sorting waste into different bells, by individual citizens.
It is very important that each of us actively works to facilitate the glass recovery process through some precautions during the separate collection.
First, it is good to remember that not everything can be reused: objects such as mirrors, windows, glasses lenses, crystal glasses or ceramics, are not recyclable because they contain additional chemical elements that can spoil the quality of the glass batch.
It’s only possible to recycle bottles and jars and bottles of perfume and cosmetics and medicine. The following codes are often used on packaging:
GL70 for clear glass (used for preserves);
GL71 for green glass (used for wine bottles);
GL72 for brown glass (used for beer bottles).
Unless there are large quantities of waste inside glass containers, it is not necessary to wash them before dropping them into the separate collection bowl, because food or liquid residues will be industrially eliminated.
But remember to separate the glass from the accessory elements, such as plastic caps or cork!
3. How glass is recycled
On a daily basis, equipped vehicles collect glass waste and transport it to disposal centres.
Here they are dealt with in a series of steps:
Separation of foreign bodies: non-glass materials such as pieces of plastic or ceramic, are separated both mechanically through vibrating tables, and manually.
Division by color: according to the chemical elements of which it is made, the glass can take on 3 different colors: green, brown or transparent; it is essential to divide the residues by color because different chemicals provide different recycling processes.
Grinding: The glass is chopped to make smaller pieces, which will melt faster and save energy.
Casting: the cylinders of the obtained material are melted, inserted inside moulds and pressed to obtain the shape of the new packaging, ready to be reused.
Thank you for reading this article, we hope it has been helpful. If you are looking for more interesting facts about the world of glass visit our blog. If you want to buy recovered glass products and support a 100% eco-sustainable company, take a look at the products in our store.
Article edited by Sofia Tamborra