Glass Recycling, Glass Bottle Recycling

  • Glass is one of the most useful inorganic materials available today. It can be made into a myriad of products used for man's daily living. It is an amorphous or non-crystalline solid material that can be made of different semi-metallic substances, but mostly of molten silica. One of the largest productions in the world, glass food thermos container comprises a large fraction of the world's annual non-biodegradable wastes.

    Unlike other inorganic materials such as plastic and metal, glass does not decompose naturally. Plastics of relatively flimsy structure can decompose into soil for around 500 to 1000 years by natural weathering, while metals can decompose earlier depending on the level of corrosion resistance. Glass cannot be putrefied by natural process. Without chemical application, glass mugs / tumblers can darken in color but, will remain glass even after several million years. Therefore, disposing it is not advisable.

    There are two options in dealing with waste glass. One is the application of chemicals to force its decomposition and the other is recycling. Forced decomposition is done by application of some chemicals used in typical etching. Conversely, there are industries specializing in melting the glass a second time to produce into other usable products.

    Recycling or reusing glass products is always a better option. Most of the glass products that are recycled are thermos mugs used as liquid containers. In most European and North American countries, recycling glass bottles is a government mandated practice. By the help of this mandate, 98 percent of the glass bottles produced comprises the bottles recycled in Sweden alone. The remaining 2 percent is dumped or forced to decompose by treating it with chemicals.

    However, in other countries, including the United States, there is more glass dumped in landfills than recycled. A revolution in recycling bottles has been going on since five years ago as environmental issues began to arise. Due to heightened regulations such as the container deposit legislation (a law requiring deposit of buyers for bottled product bought), the percentage of stainless coffee mugs recycled rose to over 50 percent.

    On another estimate made by some environmental and energy conservation experts, the amount of glass bottles being recycled can pose an impact on the annual consumption of fresh water, which is also a non-renewable resource, to clean used bottles. But still, there is no alternative to bottles recycled in reducing non-biodegradable waste production.