Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The Glass Edition

Glass vs. Plastic

One important way to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment is to recycle more. One of the easiest materials to recycle, and one of the most commonly recycled, is glass. Glass may be made up of sand, ash, and limestone, but that doesn’t mean it can just be thrown away with the rest of your trash when you’re done with it! You can reduce your carbon footprint through recycling glass, read on to learn more.

How Glass Is Made

Glass is made from simple materials. In fact, glass is created by heating sand and limestone to extremely high temperatures. From here it’s poured into molds before cooling down to form flat sheets. Heating sand to its very high melting point of 1,700 Celsius takes a lot of energy, and the manufacturing process of virgin glass uses a lot of water too. Not to mention the air pollution. Sulphur oxides are released during the melting process, and nitrogen oxides are generated if the glass is heated by burning gas. So although we tend to think of glass as a ‘clean’ product, it has its drawbacks.

How Glass Impacts The EnvironmentEnvironmental impact of plastic

Although glass is one of Earth’s most recycled materials, only nine percent of it is currently recycled. This means that nearly 90 percent of glass containers and other products end up in landfills—and don’t decay there. Instead, they break down into small fragments known as microplastics that contaminate waterways and ocean habitats. As wildlife consume these tiny plastic pieces or ingest them through contaminated food, their health can be put at risk.

Benefits of Recycled Glass

Nearly half of all glass containers used in commercial and residential buildings are made from recycled glass. This reduced demand for raw materials, including sand and limestone; keeps our landfills clear of waste glass; and reduces greenhouse gas emissions because recycled materials require less energy to produce than new ones do.

Recycling Options

So what should you do with your glass? To start with, make sure that you’re recycling whatever glass you don’t use. There are several different types of glass accepted by recyclers, so check with your local agencies before throwing anything away.

Find out more about Sunrise Sanitations waste collection and recycling services here.

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