The Turning Point of Glass Recycling
Glass recycling is making a positive turning point after years of mishandling and miseducation here in the US. The tables are turning for the better when it comes to glass. Many industries reap the benefits of using recycled glass for their businesses. And in return, it is now having a positive impact on the economy.
However, there are still many issues that have caused glass recycling to diminish. And as a result, Mother Earth is unhappy. When people stopped recycling glass, it caused a negative impact on the environment in some areas. It added to the tons of trash in the landfills, while increasing the amount of carbon dioxide used to create organic glass.
But the good news is that more people are becoming aware of glass recycling, and that is the starting point of making the world a cleaner place.
The Issues with Recycling Glass
One of the main issues with recycling glass is that people aren’t educated on how to recycle. According to Waste Advantage, 62% of Americans lack recycling knowledge, which leads to incorrect practice. Since many states aren’t educating nor encouraging their residents on proper glass recycling, it’s causing a lot of useful glass to be wasted into their local landfills. Another case is that many aren’t implementing a recycling program for their cities.
Every city here in the US does not have their own recycling program, or it is collected as single-stream recycling, and goes to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). The mixed glass produced by the MRF needs to be repurposed into glass sand or aggregates, but communities are not educated on how to use these recycled glass aggregates. Residents also do not have recycling bins in their possession, nor are they knowledgeable about any drop-off sites in their area.
However, things are starting to make a change. On the contrary, there are more states in the US that are hopping on the glass recycling train, because they are seeing the positive impact it is making in other areas, through social media.
Glass Recycling and Repurposing is Making a Comeback
Move over plastic, glass is making a powerful comeback in the current market. With the power of social media, people in the US are more aware of the importance of glass, and how it helps make a positive impact in our lives and the world. With landfills at full capacity, cities are now seeing some improvement by having a recycling program. This reduces the amount of toxins and contamination that’s having a negative impact on our environment. Plus, it is creating more job opportunities that help with the local economy.
One benefit of recycling glass is that it can be reused to make new glass. Using waste glass, or some may call it glass cullet, helps reduce the amount of energy and materials it takes to make new, organic glass. Besides remelting glass, many communities are becoming hip to using recycled glass for many other projects. People are becoming more knowledgeable about glass aggregates and sand, and how it can be used to replace stone and sand aggregate in the landscape and construction industries.
Some construction companies are mixing it with cement or foaming agents to make foam glass. It is used to pave roads, driveways, green roofs, flooring, countertops, wall tiles, and even wall insulation. Not only is it versatile, it is environmentally friendly, and cheaper to use than other materials used within the construction industry.
The Positive Outcomes of Recycling Glass
Recycling glass has many positive outcomes. For instance, the food and beverage industry is moving to replace plastic containers with glass containers for a purer taste. The benefit of using glass packaging is that glass does not chemically interact with the product it contains. This makes the food taste better, stays fresh longer, while protecting it against outside elements.
US Colleges are using recycled glass to help make improvements on campus. American Recycler interviewed Georgia College’s sustainability assistant, Cameron Skinner, on how they use recycled glass on campus. Skinner stated they purchased a glass recycling product to turn glass into sand, which they use for soil amendment, to increase the drainage capabilities of the soil. And that is one of many ways waste glass affects the environment for the better.
Don’t call it a comeback, because glass recycling has been here for years. It was just forgotten about for almost two decades, but now it is making a full turning point. And here at Andela Products, we want to help for the greater good. If you are looking for a recycling glass technology system for your next project, we have many options that can be customized for your needs. Contact us today for a quote.