Out of all the materials that we recycle, glass is by far the most endless recyclable material. Recycling glass is highly beneficial, not to just the earth and the environment, but to manufacturing companies as well. Making a new glass bottle, for example, uses far less energy and the carbon footprint is dramatically reduced lowering the utility bills as well as the bottling process.
Glass is 100% recyclable. Across the world, some companies are able to manufacture 96% of their glass bottles from recycled glass. Environmental leaders, the glass processing and recycling industry, the Glass Packing Institute, and beverage makers have formed a coalition to raise awareness on the importance of glass recycling to help improve their efforts. Where experts can’t seem to get on the same page, is with the ongoing debate on glass recycling policy solutions on federal, state and local levels. Where many of the debates have flopped, many companies and organizations are banning together to think of better ways we can recycle glass and increase the desire in an attempt to keep up with the beverage makers wanting more and more of the recycled glass to create new bottles.
Within general recycling plants, glass can pose a few challenges to the infrastructure if it is not efficiently planned and executed. Glass can easily contaminate other streams of recycling. With the weight of glass, it is more pricey to haul to the appropriate locations, and glass is abrasive, causing more wear and tear on the equipment than other recyclable materials. Unfortunately, some municipalities have decided to eliminate glass from the curbside services, discovering the cheaper costs in dumping it in landfills. The coalition is stepping in to increase glass recycling practices throughout the country.
Some companies have improved the glass recycling effort, for example two North Carolina material recovery facilities have chosen to install the sorting equipment at the beginning of the recycling process, instead of at the tail end of it. Doing so spares the unneeded wear and tear of the equipment and avoids contamination.
The biggest dilemma isn’t the citizens wanting to do their part, but rather the expense that it entails on a federal, state, and local level as previously mentioned. Another complex problem is trying to separate the glass from other materials to keep the glass pure as well as damaging equipment in the process. Finding the solutions in this continuing effort is proving to be more challenging than some might have supposed. One company in the UK has offered a strategy in dealing with the cross contamination issue as well as the separation problem, by imploding the glass, which will help recycling facilities minimize damage to the equipment and avoid contamination.
This technology reduces the glass size using frequency. If you think similarly to that of an opera singer hitting a near impossible high note that shatters a wine glass, or a very intensely powerful tuning fork. Basically, the glass can be segregated from difficult mixed waste without affecting the collateral materials.
Glass does not grind, mill, hammer or flail during implosion, cutting down the high wear and tear normally associated with traditional glass processors. Implosion technology is conformed to process just the glass within the co-mingled waste stream, which will leave the valued materials such as; paper, plastic and beverage cans undamaged. Additionally, the implosion process operates at high speed but utilizes low torque. As a result, the power used is but ¼ of what a traditional crusher uses.
In any case, we hope more strategies and solutions are put forth to help recycle glass in the US to accommodate the citizens enthusiasm.