Glass is considered one of the best materials on earth to recycle because it is 100% reusable. Meaning just like the Buddhist philosophy of a cycle of life, death and rebirth, glass can be recycled over and over again, taking many forms, shapes and sizes! Recycling also reduces the energy used for production, quarrying of raw materials and it means less space is taken up at landfills.
To put that into perspective, recycling three bottles of glass can save one litre of oil. Recycling just one glass saves you enough power to keep a computer functioning for 25 minutes! A tonne of recycled glass will save 1,300 pounds of Sand, 410 pounds of Soda Ash and 380 pounds of limestone.
The Cycle of Recycle
Step 1 - Glass in landfills is brought in by trucks after being shifted away from other debris.
Step 2 - The glass is conveyed down a belt and washed in water to remove any more paper, labels, dirt and debris.
Step 3 - What remains is crushed and smashed into tiny pieces of and it is called ‘cullet’.
Step 4 - The cullet is transferred onto a conveyor where a powerful magnet will take out any metal.
Step 5 - The cullet is then guided into a furnace where they are heated into gobs (≈ 1500 ˚C).
Step 6 - The gobs are sent through different machines to make consumer and industry grade glass.
Step 7 - Glass is thrown to landfills. Certain countries have already taken steps to ensure glass is recycled from the home itself.
- Step 1-7 of the cycle of recycle can take as little as 30days.
- One recycled glass bottle can power a 100watt bulb for 4 hours. Imagine how long it will power the environmentally friendly LED bulbs.
- If we achieved a level where every new glass made is 50 percent recycled. We can save the energy required to power more than 20,000 homes for a year and reduce close to 200 tonnes of waste from landfills.
- Every time 10% of cullet is used in glass manufacture, energy consumption drops by 3%
- Every time 6 tonnes of glass cullet is used for manufacture one tonne of carbon dioxide emission is reduced.
- Glass made from recycled cullet uses 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution.
Naturally Occurring Glass
Majority of people think that glass is a man made commodity. However there are various ways glass is made and found in nature. This happens when sand high in silica gets super heated fusing the particles together and then cooling fast thereafter.
Fulgurites - There are hunters for this type of glass as you have to go and search for it. It could be anywhere there is a high amount of sand. The beach, the dessert, a bare land. If lighting can strike it, there is a chance a fulgurite can be formed. When lighting hits the sand it sometimes travels for two to three meters below the surface of the sand. This in turn creates various looking shapes of glass tubes that take the form of a super charged lightning bolt. This glass is sort after as collectables and it is even used as jewellery.
Obsidian - This dark looking tough glass if formed when volcanic eruptions and lava melt the sand in surrounding areas. This type of glass was used by ancient people as tools to hunt and cut. The glass is highly sort after because they have a special dark shine look to them and they are thought to be ideal for high vibrating healing beads.
Moldavite - This is one of the rarest forms of naturally occurring glass and is millions of years old for it is made by the impact of a meteorite on the earth's surface. Found in prehistoric meteorite crash sites this glass is rare and of a very high vibration. The temperatures and impact that fused the sand is compared to an atomic bomb. The greenish tinge along with the pattern of the glass is described as a mesmerising article to behold.