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2021, Sustainability

How Glass Recycling Helps The Planet


03/18/2021

The Benefits of Glass Recycling are Crystal Clear

For thousands of years, people have relied on glass to store medicines and foods. But did you know it takes one million years for glass to fully decompose in a landfill? The good news: glass is infinitely recyclable.

Over half a billion pounds of recycled glass go into Knauf Insulation products every year. So it would be an understatement to say glass recycling is important to us. The truth is, we’d actually use more recycled glass if it was available. Even though glass is the most well-known recyclable material, some municipalities are getting rid of their glass recycling programs, thinking that glass is a nuisance to recycle or there is no market for it. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even though glass is one of the most recyclable materials, only 31 percent of glass is recycled in the U.S. Compare that to a 76 percent glass recycling rate in the EU, there is a lot of room for improvement.

There is a lot of confusion about recycling in the U.S. We want to arm you with the information you need to prioritize recycling and make a difference.
 

5 Benefits of Glass Recycling

  1. Reduces landfill waste

    Like all recycling, glass recycling diverts waste from the landfill. More than 28 billion glass bottles and jars end up in landfills every year — that is the equivalent of filling up two Empire State Buildings every three weeks.
     

  2. Supports a circular economy

    Recycling glass supports a closed loop system, minimizing the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions.
     

  3. Sustainable manufacturing

    When recycled glass is used in the manufacturing of products like fiberglass insulation, less natural resources like sand, limestone and soda ash need to be extracted from the environment. Plus, it takes less energy to produce from recycled glass, meaning less carbon emissions.
     

  4. Creates green jobs

    Recycling is a job creator. It’s estimated that zero-waste recycling plans achieve 10x more jobs than sending trash to a landfill. If the U.S. increased our recycling rate to 75 percent by 2030 we could create 1.1 million new jobs.
     

  5. Quickly and endlessly recyclable

    Unlike paper and plastic, glass can be recycled and re-manufactured an infinite number of times without losing quality. A bottle that you recycle today can also be back on the shelf as another glass bottle in just 30 days!
     

 

Surprising Products Made from Recycled Glass

The creation of more glass containers aren’t the only thing recycled glass is used for. When you toss your empty beer bottle into the blue or green bin it can come back as:


Knauf_Insulation_Tom_Monterosso-80.jpg

 

 

Glass Recycling Process

Unlike plastic and other materials, glass can be infinitely recycled.

Knauf Recycled Glass

 

Ways To Do Your Part

Glass is the perfect packaging material for a circular economy— a system where we use resources sparingly and recycle endlessly. To support and sustain a circular economy, we need to collect, recycle, and process more glass. Here’s how you can help:

  • Make smart buying decisions

    Think about the goods you are buying at the grocery store. Choose products with minimal packaging and/or packaging that is easily recycled like glass.
     

  • Beware of “wish-cycling.”

    Keep things out of the recycling bin that don’t belong like broken mugs or plates, Pyrex containers, vases, window panes, or lightbulbs. This creates contamination and adds more strain/costs on the processing.
     

  • Rinse and repeat.

    Always rinse your jars to reduce contamination.
     

  • We just need the glass.

    Separate lids and corks from your jars and bottles.
     

  • Keep your bin handy.

    Place your recycling bin in a convenient location so it is a seamless part of our routine.
     

  • All hands on deck.

    Get your friends, family, workplaces and schools on board.
     

  • Use your voice.

    Make sure your municipality supports curbside glass recycling. A simple email can be a starting point to make it clear that you want better recycling facilities in your area.
     

The U.S. generates more waste than any other country in the world. But that can change if we work together to do our part. By collecting and using as much recycled glass as possible, rather than new raw materials, we can save finite natural resources, avoid filling up landfills and cut energy emissions – with infinite benefits for the world we live in.
 

Sources:
strategicmaterials.com
friendsofglass.com
recycleacrossamerica.org

 

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