Glass is a raw material that we can recycle almost without loss into the packaging it originally was. Empty bottles, glass jars or packaging from beverages, food and cosmetics should go into the green container. It is important not to pack jars or glass containers in plastic or paper bags before throwing them away. And this happens.
It is also not necessary to break glass containers before throwing them into the container. Just empty them of their contents and strip them of rubber seals, caps or clamps.
rules for segregating glass
On the other hand, do not throw heat-resistant dishes, stained glass mirrors, light bulbs, as well as table glass, porcelain, faience or ceramics into the green glass container.
How much glass waste do we produce?
Ecosystem and its contractors collected 20,500 tons of glass waste from Wroclaw households last year. This year - counting the period from January to August 2023. - more than 11,000 tons have already been collected. The numbers in this context are of considerable importance. Let's illustrate this with examples.
One recycled glass bottle is an energy saving that allows a 100-watt light bulb to run for four hours, or a computer to run for 25 minutes, or - going the other way in our house - a dishwasher to run for 10 minutes.
Economical for the environment
Recycling the aforementioned so-called cullet results in a reduction in the consumption of raw materials needed to make glass - including sand, limestone or soda, it also reduces water consumption by up to half and energy consumption by 30 percent (that consumed by glass factories). This is also followed by the leveling of atmospheric emissions - because each ton of cullet collected means 220-250 kilograms less carbon dioxide in the air we breathe.
And as if that wasn't enough, glass recycling itself helps reduce the amount of glass in landfills, so we also save space. Glass, as a fraction in such landfills, averages 7-10 percent of the total.
We recycle many times over
Indeed, we can recycle glass many times, but under certain conditions. For example, while maintaining the quality - read strength - of the material from which the packaging or bottle is created.
And yes, as we mentioned above - glass packaging does not need to be washed before discarding. This is because the raw material will be properly prepared at a waste management facility. After cleaning, glass is crushed there and divided by color - into a colored and transparent fraction. And in this form it goes to glassworks.
The civilian also has a task
From the perspective of an ordinary civilian - a resident, however, it is important to segregate glass properly, this simplifies the entire recycling process. In the green container we throw only glass packaging (vide: bottles, jars).
Other types of glass (e.g. mirrors, glass, heat-resistant dishes) have different compositions and melting points, so their admixtures in the recycled stream may reduce the quality of the final product, where, for example, air bubbles or discoloration will be visible.
However, all is not lost, because at the end of the day, such cullet, which will not meet the requirements of the smelter - can still be used as a raw material in the construction industry: for the production of glass wool, aggregates, cement.
Ultimately, there is a lot of work ahead - one-third of glass packaging in Poland is converted into cullet and re-melted in Polish glassworks. Worldwide, or if you prefer, on a global scale, more than 80 percent of jars or bottles are processed in this way.