How Many Times Can Glass Be Recycled? (Full Guide)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Many people believe that recyclable products can be recycled over and over again. However, that isn’t always the case.

For example, plastic can only be recycled once or twice which might be a shock to some people. But what about glass?

Continue reading to find out how many times glass can be recycled, and more!

How Many Times Can Glass Be Recycled?

When it comes to glass, this can be recycled an infinite number of times. This means that glass is very good for the environment as it can be reused and recycled over and over again with no limit, unlike many other common materials. 

In this article, we will take a look at some information about recycling glass including how you go about recycling it, some things to look out for, the advantages of recycling glass, and where you can go to recycle glass! 

How Is Glass Recycled?

When glass is collected and taken to be reprocessed, the following things will take place:

  • The glass is crushed and any contaminants are removed
  • Mechanized color sorting will take place if needed
  • The glass fragments are then mixed with raw materials to color and enhance the properties as needed
  • It is then all melted in a furnace 
  • Once it’s been melted, it can then be molded or blown into new objects 

Where Can You Recycle Glass?

There are many places you can go to recycle glass and it will depend on which state you live in. 

Additionally, there have recently been many efforts to increase glass recycling in the US and these are usually state and local efforts. 

An example of this includes the ten states that have passed bottle bills that require people to pay deposits on bottles. 

This is in the hope that more people choose to recycle to get their deposits back. 

So if you live in those states, you can look out for bottle redemption centers where you can recycle your small glass bottles and jars. 

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Furthermore, in most states, you can also recycle your glass bottles in your glass recycling bins at home. 

Additionally, in an effort to increase the number of bottles that are recycled you can find glass recycling bins appearing more and more in every state. 

Many towns and cities will also have access to local recycling facilities where you can take your recycling with you in bulk or take large items that may not fit in the bins. 

Can All Glass Be Recycled?

Many people believe that all glass can be recycled, but that simply isn’t the case.

However, it’s important for everyone to know which types of glass can be placed in the glass recycling bins and which can’t. 

Below is a list of the types of glass that can be recycled:

  • Bottles
  • Jars

Below is a list of the types of glass that can not be recycled:

  • Light bulbs
  • Windows
  • Mirrors
  • Plate glass
  • Eyeglasses
  • Glass art
  • Fluorescent lighting tubes
  • Broken glass
  • Drinking glasses
  • Crystal glass 

Furthermore, bottles and jars are infinitely recyclable whereas many other types of glass contain chemical properties that mean they can’t be recycled. 

Is Glass Biodegradable?

Glass is a non-biodegradable product so products like this won’t decompose quickly and will often stay in the environment for hundreds of years. 

Many people believe that glass bottles will never biodegrade, however, they do break down slowly. 

Glass can’t be broken down by a living object like many other products that are thrown out. 

However, glass can degrade. Just because a living object can’t break down glass doesn’t mean that other forces can’t. 

Below is a list of physical forces that can contribute to the breaking down of glass:

  • Human influences
  • Wind
  • Water 

Although glass can degrade, it will take an extremely long time to do so. 

Glass fragments have been found dating back to 2000 B.C which shows just how long it can last in some cases.

Furthermore, glass wasn’t designed to be broken down, therefore, it tends to stick around for a long time. 

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Is Glass Bad For The Environment?

Is Glass Bad for The Environment?

There was a time in the past when glass was quite bad for the environment, but with it now using much less fuel in the production and transportation stages, it is much friendlier.

Furthermore, since glass can be infinitely recycled, this also adds to it being very good for the environment. 

Additionally, every six tons of glass that are recycled today can reduce emissions by one ton. 

This is excellent news for the planet as it means that fewer emissions are being pumped out – even fewer than biodegradable plastics! 

So while glass isn’t biodegradable, it is actually better for the environment than things that are made with plastic materials. 

It Is also more environmentally friendly than paper as it doesn’t use any chemicals when it is produced. 

Can Broken Glass Be Recycled?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to recycle broken glass. Although, this is nothing to do with broken glass being ineffective for recycling.

It is actually to do with the safety of the workers that are involved with recycling glass. 

However, if you need to dispose of broken glass, you should do so by wrapping the broken pieces in paper and then placing it in the trash. 

What Can Be Made With Recycled Glass?

Recycled glass can be used in a variety of ways and can produce a wide range of new products. 

Some of these are quite obvious such as new bottles and jars but others may be quite unexpected. Below is a list of things that can be made using recycled glass:

  • New bottles
  • New jars
  • Glass wool insulation for homes
  • Water filtration media 

What Are the Advantages Of Recycling Glass?

There are many advantages to recycling glass. The list below highlights the main benefits:

  • Save energy – It takes roughly 40% more energy to create glass from scratch as opposed to recycling it
  • Reduce industrial pollution – Using recycled glass can reduce 20% of air pollution and around 40% of water pollution
  • Earn money – In many US states, you can earn money on recycling by using recycling vending machines
  • Conserve resources – When you recycle, this reduces the natural resources needed to produce glass 
  • Not toxic – Unlike plastic, glass won’t breakdown into toxic microplastics 
  • Many uses – Recycled glass can have many uses and can even be used to create renewable energy as wind turbines and solar-thermal and photovoltaic applications rely a lot on lightweight reinforcement glass fibers 
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Is Glass Worse Than Plastic?

Glass does have some downsides, but it is not worse than plastic. Below is a list of some of the downsides of glass compared to plastic:

  • Glass is heavier than plastic so more emissions are used when it is transported
  • Glass costs more than plastic
  • Glass is not biodegradable

Despite the above facts, glass is better than plastic because plastic is produced with chemicals and can often contain toxins. 

Additionally, plastic can also take a very long time to decompose depending on what type it is. 

To learn more, you can also read our posts on the 37 unsettling landfill statistics and facts, the number of times glass can be recycled, and why recycling is important.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many ways that you can recycle glass and there are also many benefits to recycling glass. Therefore, it is a shame that a lot of glass ends up in landfills every year since it has so many uses and can be recycled infinitely. 

Hopefully, this article has provided you with enough information to make recycling glass easier, and hopefully, the stats and facts that we have given above will help to push more people towards recycling rather than filling up landfills with glass. 

Author

  • Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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