to Teacher Guidelink arrow

Glass Recycling

 

The latest version of Flash Player is required to view this video.
Download the Flash Player Here!

Overview
Given the overcrowding of our landfills and the impact they have on the environment, fewer and fewer landfills are being built. Of the ones that are, very tight regulations are imposed. Communities across the country are reacting to this by developing and encouraging the use of recycling programs. The goal is to preserve our natural resources and save precious space in our landfills. Jars, bottles, and other containers are some of the everyday objects made from glass that can be recycled. Not all glass is recyclable. Glass found in light bulbs, cookware, and window panes is made by incorporating ceramics with the glass. This type of glass is not recyclable because doing so would introduce impurities into the recycling process. Once the glass is picked up by a recycling truck, it is separated by colors. Amber and green glass is made by adding a coloring agent during the original glass-manufacturing process; this color cannot be removed. Therefore, brown bottles can only make other brown bottles. When the glass is taken to a manufacturing or recycling plant, it is broken up into smaller pieces called cullet. The broken pieces are crushed, sorted, cleaned, and prepared to be mixed with other raw materials in the glass-making process. The cost savings of recycling is in the use of energy. When glass is made from scratch, high temperatures are needed to melt and combine all the ingredients. Since cullet melts at a lower temperature, the more of it you add to a batch of raw materials, the less energy you will need to melt it. Recycling glass is not only cost-efficient; it benefits the environment in several ways. Glass produced from recycled glass instead of raw materials reduces related air pollution by 20% and related water pollution by 50%. Throwaway bottles consume three times as much energy as reusable, returnable containers. And, recycling glass reduces the space in landfills that would otherwise be taken up by used bottles and jars. Ten to twelve percent of the glass used in the United States is recycled. Much of the glass used is not recycled. According to the Earthworks Group, about 28 billion bottles and jars are thrown away every year. That's enough to fill both towers of New York's World Trade Center every two weeks.

to Teacher Guidelink arrow