How To Recycle Glass This Earth Day
Kensington Glass Arts wanted to highlight the environmental impact of glass in honor of Earth Day. Glass is 100% recyclable. Though we have highlighted this fun fact on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, we wanted to take a deep dive into the process of recycling glass. We also wanted to let you know how to get started recycling glass. Check out our guide on how to safely recycle glass!
Advantages of Recycling Glass
Glass is made from four main ingredients: sand, soda ash, limestone, and other additives for color or special treatments. Recycling glass allows us to conserve non-renewable fossil fuels and limit the emission of harmful gasses in our atmosphere. Because glass does not degrade throughout the recycling process, it can be recycled repeatedly. In addition, recycling glass helps limit physical waste. The act of recycling glass means there are fewer glass items in landfills across the country.
Process of Recycling Glass
After you throw the glass in a recycling bin, the glass will be taken to a glass treatment plan. At the plant, the glass is sorted by color and washed to remove any imperfections. After, the glass is crushed into small pieces called cullet. Contaminants are then removed from the cullet via magnets, air suction, and even lasers. The remaining cullet is melted into a liquid state, then molded or blown into the new product. These products can include bottles, jars, bricks, decorative pieces, and much more. For more information on the process of glass recycling, check out this video by NPR on the process of glass recycling.
How To Get Involved in Recycling Glass
Follow the below guidelines to make the process easy for you and the recycling manufacturers if you’re interested in recycling glass.
Find a recycling bin.
Most apartment buildings, schools, and community areas such as libraries have recycling bins throughout their facilities. The recycling bins are usually green or blue with the triangle arrow recycling symbol on the front.
Another option is to go straight to your local recycling center. While a simple Google Search usually provides you with information about the closest recycling center to you, you can also visit https://Search.Earth911.com/. At their website, you can input what type(s) of materials you’d like to recycle and your zip code, and it will show results of recycling centers near you that accept the item you searched. If you’re not sure where to start, visit http://BeRecycled.org/. On their website, you can enter your zip code and it will show you websites relevant to your area regarding recycling.
Confirm you are recycling the right type of glass items.
While all glass is technically recyclable, most recycling centers will only accept food and beverage containers. This is because items with heat-resistant glass can damage the furnace used by melting the glass. Some of these items include cell phones and computer screens. If you’re unsure if your items are recyclable, contact your local recycling center for more information.
Start collecting glass items.
When collecting glass items to recycle, do your best to keep the items in one piece. Broken glass can be a hazard to you! If your glass does break during the recycling process, make sure you wrap the individual pieces in a plastic bag, then re-bag the items.
While sorting the glass you plan to recycle, it’s beneficial to recycling centers if you sort the glass by color. Glass color typically falls into three categories: clear, brown, and green. Brown glass bottles are commonly used for beer and colas because it blocks out UV rays and prevents the beverage from being affected by the sun. Green glass bottles have a similar purpose to brown glass; but green glass became more common during WWII when there was a brown glass shortage. When the colors of glass are not sorted, it ultimately leads to a lower-quality glass creation. However, sorted glass can be used for higher quality items.
There’s no need to remove labels from the glass containers. The labels are removed during the process of removing imperfections from the glass cullet. If there are still remnants of the label after this step, the label can be safely melted into the glass with no damage done.
Drop off your glass items.
Once you have accumulated enough glass to donate, drop your glass off at your local recycling bin or center, the glass will go through the aforementioned steps to recycle the glass. As we mentioned earlier, make sure all broken pieces of glasses are wrapped properly and glass is sorted by color in order to best assist the recycling center.
How Kensington Glass Arts Supports Recycling Glass
Kensington Glass Arts works with Bradish Glass for all our recycling needs. After Kensington Glass Arts cuts our glass in-house, we are often left with remnants from the cutting that we do not plan to use. While Bradish Glass does not accept public glass recycling at this time, Bradish Glass recommends contacting Westmoreland Cleanways, a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to protect, restore, and maintain the environmental qualities in the local area.
In addition, we have provided all employees at our Ijamsville, Baltimore, and Frederick, Maryland offices with recycling bins as their desk and at various stations in our fabrication facility. All employees are welcome to dispose of any recyclable waste in these bins. We want to do our part in recycling glass, just as we hope to inform our readers of how to recycle glass.