A Strong, Versatile Material
Glass is the hard substance which results from the reaction of sand, soda, and lime, fused by heat. Used for countless applications from windows to bottles to camera lenses, glass is often transparent and is quite malleable before it cools.
Glass History Spanning Thousands of Years
While the first known use of glass dates back to 3500 BCE Mesopotamia, modern glass production began with technological advances like the addition of lead for strength in the 1600s, and plate stability techniques first employed in the mid 1800s. At this point, glass ceased to be a rare luxury item and was utilized on a large scale in manufacturing and building.
Today, glass use is so prevalent that nearly 5 percent of all municipal solid waste [MSW] in the U.S. is comprised of glass. 11 million tons of glass is sent to processing facilities for recycling annually.
Benefits of Glass Recycling
Recycling used glass into new forms takes less energy than manufacturing new glass. For this reason, efforts to collect, sort, and repurpose glass products of all kinds is of great value to manufacturers and consumers.
Cutting manufacturing also reduces the amount of emissions into the environment.
In cities offering pay-as-you-throw waste disposal, recycling will cut prices for consumers. In areas where glass is accepted for recycling, incentive programs like the ones offered by Recyclebank make glass recycling more attractive to consumers. In select areas, Recyclebank rewards participation in household recycling with points that translate into real savings for community and national brands.
How to Recycle Glass Locally
Recycling glass has now become easier than ever as many cities allow residents to recycle glass at their curb. In some areas, a wide variety of recyclable materials, including glass, can be placed in a single collection bin without sorting. This is known as “single stream” or “commingled” recycling. Or, residents may be required to separate their recyclable materials prior to pickup; this is known as “dual-stream” recycling. Furthermore, some local laws prohibit throwing away glass with regular trash.
If a home pick-up recycling system is not offered locally, consumers may be able to bring their glass to recycling centers, sometimes in exchange for a small cash reward. This money might be used to offset whatever transportation and fuel costs are incurred in delivering the material.