Facts About Recycling Glass

Quick Facts
1.  Most glass bottles and jars contain about 25% recycled glass.

2.  Like aluminum and steel, glass can be recycled indefinitely.

3.  States which have enacted bottle deposit laws typically have about 40% less litter by volume.

4.  Recyling glass saves about 25% of the energy required to produce glass from virgin materials.

5.  For every ton of glass produced from raw materials 12.6kg (~28 lbs) of air pollution is released into the atmosphere.

6.  Glass can be recycled into an asphalt substite called glassphalt.

7.  Glass can also be recycled into sand for beaches suffering from erosion.

8.  Glass makes up about 8% of all household garbage.

9.  Although there is no shortage of raw materials for glass these materials must be quarried from our landscape.  This process defaces the landscape, wastes energy, and pollutes the environment.

10.  The glass typically used in glassphalt is from windows, Pyrex, mirrors, and crystal.  These have a higher melting point and can ruin a batch of recycled bottle glass.

11.  Most glass in the United States, about 75%, is used for packaging.

12.  Glass that is meant for recycling is crushed so that it takes up less space.  The crushed glass is referred to as cullet.

Glass Recycling
Glass can be recycled endlessly without losing its quality, durability, and strength.
Many municipalities offer curbside pickup services that will bring used glass items to recycling facilities. If a curbside program is not available, it should be easy to locate a site that will accept glass products brought in by individuals. Some areas offer a monetary reward for each glass bottle that is brought to a recycling facility, creating an incentive for people to recycle their used glass products.

Recycling glass is a rather quick process. In as little as one month’s time, a glass item can be picked up from one’s home, transported to a recycling facility, remade into a new glass item, and distributed to a company that will then utilize the product and sell it in stores.  The entire glass product can be recycled without any residual waste. Many new glass items contain roughly 70% or more recycled glass within them.

Environmental Benefits
When glass is recycled, there is no need to mine raw materials, meaning natural resources remain in their natural state in the environment. When a ton of glass is recycled, 410 pounds of soda ash, 1,300 pounds of sand, and 380 pounds of limestone are conserved.

In addition to preserving natural resources, energy is also conserved when glass is recycled, as opposed to manufacturing from virgin materials. About 40% less energy is required when glass is made from recycled material.

Recycling glass also prevents used glass products from taking up space in landfills. Glass does not biodegrade so will remain there indefinitely. It can take up to one million years before glass breaks down.  Like plastic, glass can become an environmental hazard to both wildlife and humans if it is not kept out of the environment.