New Containers, Dishware
Did you know that recycled glass could be used and recycled again and again but at the present time only 25% of our glass containers are being recycled?
According to Earthworks Group we throw away 28 billion bottles and jars every year. They are responsible for 5.2% of our solid waste by weight. With so many communities implementing recycling programs shouldn't we be seeing more glass being recycled?
There are some problems in the recycling system itself that need to be worked out and while many people have curbside reycling some don't take advantage of it. And what do you do if you have no convenient way to recycle? Toss it in the trash.
Many communities use a single source recycling system which makes it easier for us to recycle. All we have to do is put all our recyclables of all kinds, paper, glass or plastic, in one container and our job is done. The items are sorted into different categories and recycled. This only works if whoever is picking up our recycling is doing a good job in sorting. When items aren't sorted properly it may be difficult if not impossible to recycle.
New Glass From Old Glass.
Glass will be sorted again according to color. All glass has different melting points and reacts differently to the process so it is important to sort glass or a whole load may be contaminated. Clear glass makes more clear glass, brown glass makes brown glass and green glass makes more green glass. They aren't mixed. To make new bottles or containers manufacturers need uniform materials so they can avoid costly equipment problems and get predictable results when glass is heated and remelted.
Big benefits of recycling glass in to new containers
When recycled glass is used to make new containers, furnace emissions can be reduced 15 to 20% and there is a saving of 25 to 30% in energy usage. With the quantity of glass being made each year that adds up to impressive reductions in carbon dioxide. Plus there is less glass to contribute to our landfills.
Are you recycling glass?
Many communities have recycling programs and for them to be effective it is important to follow any specific directions for recycling glass.
They may ask you to:
Uses For Mixed Waste Glass
Fortunately, new uses have been found for waste glass (glass that contains all different kinds and colors of glass). Sometimes this waste or mixed glass is ground up and this material called glassfault is used for parking lots and driveways or road filler.
A few companies find new uses for this glass in creating glass tiles, flooring or counter tops.
Enviroglass has created a material that can be used for counter tops and flooring that utilizes glass from many sources such as window glass, mirrors or bottles and creating a material that is safe, healthy and lasts forever. As you might expect it is not inexpensive but for some it may be worth it for it's beauty and long lasting appeal.
Eco Friendly and Beautiful Recycled Glass
Glass is a wonderful material which can be melted and reused over and over. It is particularly beautiful when used in jewelry.
Recycled Glass Jewelry
Making jewelry from recycled glass is becoming a popular jewelry style. Some of the most beautiful beads come from fair trade producers in countries like Ghana in Africa. The company GhanaCraft offers colorful glass jewelry made by African artisans. The process of making traditional glass Krobo beads is very interesting involving both skill and patience.eShopAfrica sells not only completed jewelry but also the individual beads made by their fair trade artisans. You can see the process by clicking on their link. They told me that the artisans are particularly proud of their beads and they are one of their bestsellers.
Your purchase helps provide good incomes for African people in many disadvantaged areas.
Paloma Pottery uses a combination of ceramics and recycled glass to create some very unique and pretty jewelry. Colored glass is melted on a ceramic base that has a swirl pattern. The effect of the crackled glass on the ceramic provides depth while the light playing on the angles of the glass make it sparkle. Check out their unique use of recycled glass.
A Few Other Ideas
Glass can be recycled as glass gravel or glass rocks which can be used for a variety of landscape or other creative applications. Recycled Rocks has these in many colors.
The Green Glass Co. is growing rapidly because of a process they developed to reuse colored glass bottles. It involves cutting the bottles into two pieces at about the halfway point, flaring the opening to form a base for one glass with the other cut section forming a tumbler. (click on their link above to see what I mean.) Beautiful glasses reusing every part of the bottle with no waste.
Take a look around for recycled glass items when you shop as you can see they are beautiful, often unique and it's always fun to say that was made from recycled glass.
Fair Trade Gifts (often made using recycled materials)
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