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.
China’s restrictions on low-quality waste imports revealed a broken global waste management system and the unsustainable practices of developed countries shipping their waste to developing ones for disposal. In the context of Singapore’s Year Towards Zero Waste and the dramatic changes in the recycling landscape, professionals worked together to relook and reimagine how we handle waste and ask critical questions about the future of recycling.
Eco Action Day is a business-led environmental initiative co-organised by Ricoh and Eco-Business. During this event, professionals explored the following questions:
- Can repurposed materials retain the same quality as virgin material?
- What are some innovative solutions today that will define the recycling of the future?
- Will a policy of extended producer responsibility fill the gaps when it comes to material innovation, design for recovery, and collection?
- What are viable solutions for decentralised and localised waste recycling and how can this be implemented in Southeast Asia, which is struggling to take on the world’s waste problems?
Several workshops were organised to cover the different aspects of the waste management spectrum, from the manufacturers to the consumers, and via the regulator.
Each workshop was facilitated by high-quality professionals and speakers:
- Mr Tan Meng Dui, CEO, National Environment Agency Singapore, for the regulators
- Mr Mohit Grover, Executive Director, Deloitte Singapore, for the social behaviours
- Ms Pek Hai Lin, Manager, Zero Waste SG, for the consumers
- Mr Tan Szue Hann, Managing Director, Miniwiz, for the innovations in the circular economy
- Mr Anirban Mukherjee, Director Global Packaging – Asia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson Consumer, for the manufacturers
Finally, the facilitators summarised the findings from each round tables in a panel discussion.