Have you ever wondered what happened to the glass once it goes into the recycling bin? Discover the process of glass recycling in this 3-minutes video.
This video described the process of collection and recycling of the glass bottles in the Devon, in the UK:
In 2019, Singapore generated 75,000 tonnes of glass waste and 14% was recycled. Glass comes from a wide range of products such as beverage bottles, food containers like plates and glasses and vases, windows, and windscreen glass on cars. The list of acceptable glass products in the recycling bin is available here.
Glass is manufactured from silicon dioxide (SiO2), calcium oxide (CaO), and sodium oxide (Na2O). Additives gives special properties to the glass such as mechanical strengths or colours.
Once collected, glass will typically be sent to the Material Recovery Facility (sorting plant). There, contaminants such as labels, metal lids, or corks are removed. Glass is then crashed into smaller pieces, called “cullet”. It is segregated according to its colour before to be sent to a glass foundry company.
In the glass factory, cullet is mixed with raw materials (virgin sand) and melted in a furnace over 550°C and then moulded into new products. Typically, clear glass will be used to make new jars or bottles for jam or whiskey, whereas green and brown glass is used to make beer or wine bottles.
A small proportion of the crushed glass, whether green, clear, or brown, can be recycled into aggregate for building purposes.
Although it is said that glass can be recycled for the eternity, it still consumes a large amount of energy to transport, sort, and recycle. Whenever possible, reuse glass bottles as often as you can.