He explains that melting cullet doesn’t release carbon dioxide or other gases that can form unwanted trapped bubbles in the glass. US glass-industry trade groups are working with manufacturers and government agencies to boost the numbers. Finally, cullet has a significant environmental benefit. It’s unlikely in the foreseeable future that the economics of recycling in communities throughout the US will change to favor multistream recycling collection, as is commonly practiced in Europe, Lipetz says. The Kansas City, Missouri–based beer maker bemoaned the absence of an active local recycling program, which meant that millions of its empty beer bottles were ending up in landfills. Another factor helping Europe maintain high recycling rates is high landfill costs, which make trashing glass in those countries more expensive than recycling. Credit: Owens-Illinois of glass is disposed of every year in the US. Getting cullet in a clean, furnace-ready form generally requires a lot of processing. Finally, in Europe, “recycling is the cultural and social norm,” Nordmeyer says. Recycled mixed broken glass can find applications in some industries, such as insulation and water filtration, but because all the different types of glass are blended together, the quality is low and can’t be used for more in-demand applications such as beverage bottle production. Related: Stiff-yet-supple plastic can be reshaped and recycled. This is compounded by the fact that there are very few glass recycling centers around the country. “You have to sort through all the trash to get to the material that manufacturers want and are willing to pay for.”. I go to MO or OK several times a year and have been known to take my glass with me and my friends recycle it for me. This site uses cookies to enhance your user experience. If your neighborhood is no longer recycling glass curbside, do not put it in your recycling bin anyway and hope for the best. Contact your hauler and find out if there are any alternatives for glass recycling in your area. Basically, for every 6 metric tons of cullet used in manufacturing, glassmakers can cut 1 metric ton of CO2 emissions. For example, in the US, some materials recovery facilities do not recover any glass from their single streams because there are no nearby buyers to make it worthwhile, according to Rue. Yet each year only one-third of the roughly 10 million metric tons of glass that Americans throw away is recycled. If you have no reasonable options for recycling your glass bottles, find a clever reuse for them around the house. If a supplier needs to process multiple types of cullet to meet various manufacturers’ needs, their production costs increase. So some recycling sorting facilities are no longer accepting glass. Chemical & Engineering News will not share your email address with any other person or company. Multistream glass typically bypasses materials recovery facilities and goes directly to cullet processors. And North Carolina enacted an on-premise recycling bill that requires alcoholic-beverage-permit holders to recycle bottles and cans. Sign in with a different account. Markets for recycled glass are narrow and often only the highest quality glass can be sold for a profit. The glass industry regularly mixes cullet—a granular material made by crushing bottles and jars usually collected from recycling programs—with sand, limestone, and other raw materials to produce the molten glass needed to manufacture new bottles and jars. The effort has driven locals to regularly fill the bins with clean, high-quality recyclable glass. The city’s contract with it’s hauler goes until the end of June. Before taking your recycled glass bottle to a convenience center, you can reuse it safely as well. Glass can be recycled endlessly by crushing, blending, and melting it together with sand and other starting materials. In Georgia, Candler Recycling Center reports that glass and plastic recycling is “suspended” until the county can find a place to take these materials. This doesn't bode well for our plastic waste problem. If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. The fact is that glass has always been one of the lower valued commodities. If the spreadsheet permits, I think a portable cullet maker could serve several rural counties, a worthwhile multi-community enterprise (and social experiment). Choose the membership that is right for you. Using 10% cullet in the manufacturing feed lowers emissions of CO2 by roughly 5%. One kilogram of cullet replaces 1.2 kg of raw materials, according to James V. Nordmeyer, vice president of global sustainability at Owens-Illinois, a major manufacturer of glass bottles and containers. The idea is consumers will be more likely to recycle the bottles to get back their deposits. Is the color of the glass important? is often a more cost-effective way to go. Password and Confirm password must match. Glass recycling is the processing of waste glass into usable products. LOL, Curbside pickup is no longer available, so we go to the waste transfer station and drop off our glass there when we have other recyclables that don't go in the bin (waste oil, scrap metal, etc.). Garbage, like those products, contaminates all the recyclables in the bin, Nordmeyer says. In states with those laws, 98% of bottles are recycled, compared with the national average of roughly 33%. Most of the efforts to boost glass-recycling rates in the US have been state and local affairs. Sixty-six percent of discarded paper and cardboard was recycled, 27 percent of glass, and 8 percent of plastics were recycled. Must recycled glass be sorted by color? Modern glass crushing/cullet making machines clean, crush, and optically sort the recycled glass; left-over fines are used for other purposes, e.g. The US glass-recycling shortfall comes down to the interplay between the quality and availability of cullet and the economics of making glass, he explains. Most recycling processing facilities are sending the broken mixed glass to a landfill because there is no manufacturer that needs or wants this glass. Q: Can glass be recycled?A: Glass alone makes up 5% of garbage in the U.S. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members. The majority of Ripple’s cullet feeds the local Owens Corning fiberglass plant, and a portion goes to a beer-bottle maker in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that supplies Boulevard and other companies with new bottles. A recycled glass bottle is no less durable than one made of raw materials. These costs and limited supplies of quality cullet continue to stand in the way of US manufacturers increasing their use of recycled material. In these programs, consumers separate glass from other recyclables, depositing them in glass-only collection bins. Would it be feasible to mandate the glass bottler pay for the recycle process equipment , ( he would pass the cost on to his customer -. The alternatives are to reuse glass containers or bring to one of 21 glass-only recycling centers. According to Glass Recycling Institute, curbside-recycling programs can generate high participation and gather large quantities of glass, but drop-off and commercial recycling programs yield higher-quality materials. Adding the material to the mix reduces greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing, Nordmeyer points out. There is debate about how safe or unsafe it is to reuse plastic due to the leaching of chemicals, but glass can be reused endlessly until you are ready to recycle it. Discount will be applied automatically at checkout. “We were disturbed to hear about the decision by this recycling center to no longer accept glass," Crane said. Can anyone tell me if there are other uses for recycled glass? To start the sorting process, front-end loaders dump huge piles of single-stream recyclables onto conveyor belts. ACS values your privacy. But most municipalities in the US stick with single stream because the collection costs are lower than those with multistream systems. Not you? This article has been sent to the following recipient: Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society. Go online and find a local drop-off center that you can bring your glass to. Europeans have been recycling for many years, and children there are educated about it at school and at home starting at a young age. But don't worry if you're not; you can still earn rewards online. About 400 such facilities operate in the US, according to Rue. Glass bottles and jars make attractive vessels for fresh flowers and don’t distract the eye. Cullet also helps manufacturers save on energy costs. gets recycled in several European nations, on average. And the US’s roughly 33% glass-recycling rate, which pales compared with the 90% recycling rate in Switzerland, Germany, and other European countries, is not the result of a lack of technical know-how. Running furnaces at lower temperatures extends furnace lives and reduces operating costs and, as a result, the price of the final glass products. By continuing to use this site you are agreeing to our COOKIE POLICY. RTS Recyclebank partners with cities and brands to reward residents for helping to make their communities cleaner, greener places. If you see this comment, i'd like more info on who you are looking at using this way to recycle. Because of the difference in the quality of glass from the two streams, just 40% of glass from single-stream collection ends up being recycled into new products, compared with about 90% of glass from multistream systems. Recycling is a for-profit industry that relies on the ability to sell reclaimed materials at a profit. Unfortunately, the cities and counties affected have no choice in the matter, because there are no longer any local … What Should I Do with My Chipped Dishes and Bowls? But sometimes solving a problem requires grabbing the bull by the horns. This type of collection requires a high level of consumer education and is considerably more expensive than single-stream collection. Enjoy these benefits no matter which membership you pick. Should I Cushion the Glass in My Recycling Bin? In Decatur, recycling is good for the environment, and for the wallet. When it doesn’t pay to recycle a given material, Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) will often stop accepting it. Transporting glass waste and cullet is costly because of their weight, and those costs can be a deal breaker for some glassmakers and can prevent would-be cullet suppliers from opening processing facilities. Glass can be recycled endlessly by crushing, blending, and melting it together with sand and other starting materials. Remember to rinse your glass before putting it in the recycle bin. That sorting happens via a combined manual-plus-automated multistep process at a materials recovery facility. Mirror glass is also comprised of additives that make it hard to recycle. Metal containers and recyclable plastics come second and third, respectively. “Recycled glass is nearly always part of the recipe for making new glass,” says Joseph J. Cattaneo, executive director of the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), a trade association representing the North American glass-container industry. Tell us how you plan to adjust in the comments below! In some markets, recycling centers actually have to pay to get rid of their materials! Related: What’s fiberglass, and how does the delicate material reinforce thousands of products? Join us to get the news you need. Glass that is crushed and ready to be remelted is called cullet. This is in part because drop-off centers often require bottles to be sorted by color when you drop them off. “At that time, Waste Connections representatives cited several reasons for the change, including that glass was causing damage to equipment and no longer had a market as a recyclable … So one key factor that stands in the way of the US glass industry’s ability to boost recycling numbers is the limited availability of satisfactory cullet produced via single-stream processing. Manufacturers agree that using cullet benefits glassmakers, the environment, and consumers. Only about one-third gets recycled. However, some recycling center may still accept it, so you can check with a recycling center near you. Technology has come a long way. Compared with multistream recycling, “single stream is an inherently inefficient and expensive recycling method,” Lipetz says. Renew your membership, and continue to enjoy these benefits. Ensuring that your recyclable glass products are unbroken and free of contaminants should be your priority. After several more separation steps, a device known as a glass-breaking screen removes most of the glass from the single-stream load so it can be sent to cullet suppliers, who clean it and make it furnace ready for glass manufacturers. The Borough of Chambersburg contracts with Waste Management for recycling. US municipalities manage residential recycling primarily via single-stream curbside collection. Yet as the percentage of glass recycled in Spain and the UK, for example, has doubled and tripled in the past 25 years, respectively, the numbers in the US have barely budged. Recycling in the U.S. is broken. “But it should be.”. Check with your hauler before putting glass that might not be recyclable in your bin, and don’t put broken glass in your recycle. First, cullet allows glass manufacturers to reduce their need for raw materials. The rest ends up in landfills. The rest ends up in landfills. A continual increase in pricing caused glass recycling to become too expensive to keep in Port Orange. Items such as light bulbs, candle holders, glassware, mirrors, windows, and other non-recyclable glass products can be a serious safety hazard to our Penn Waste team if not disposed of properly! But even if the US shifted more to multistream collection, there are other economic factors standing in the way of increasing glass-recycling rates to European levels. When it comes to glass recycling, there’s container glass … and everything else. Crushed glass littered loads of recyclables as drivers dropped off their hauls. One outfit even offers portable units on trailers. Can this be done with automated equipment? After that, it will no longer accept glass either. are cut for every 10% of glassmaking mix substituted with cullet. But glass from multistream collection is much cleaner than what comes out of the single-stream supply. Well-meaning people think since those components can be recycled, they’re justified in tossing the whole thing—dirty filter, wet coffee grounds, and all—into a recycling bin. They are available here in North America and the technology produces amazing results. The result is long, costly trips transporting glass from MRF to recycler. Single-stream means residents use their recycling bins to comingle glass with aluminum and steel cans, various types of plastic, newsprint, junk mail, cardboard, and other paper products. Glass is ending up in the trash As of Jan. 1, many recycling companies no longer accept glass and certain plastics. BREAKING: Everything we know about the COVID-19 coronavirus. A few communities have set up bottle-redemption centers and instituted separate curbside glass collection. SOURCES: Glass Packaging Institute, Waste 360. (optional). For example, 10 states have passed so-called bottle bills that require consumers to pay deposits on beverage bottles. Believe it or not, bright paper can stop a whole batch of paper from being … No longer must we labor. For every 10% of cullet included in the glassmaking feed mixture, the energy needed to keep the furnace at temperatures high enough to generate molten glass falls by nearly 3%, Rue says. Despite cullet’s long list of benefits, glassmakers are limited by what recycled material is available to them at a manageable cost. Related: What’s glass, and how are modern-day researchers enhancing its properties? People also tend to throw in a lot of things that shouldn’t go in the bin, such as plastic bags, batteries, light bulbs, soiled food containers, used napkins, and what Nordmeyer and others call “wish-cycling” materials. Optical sorting machines have been around for a few years now. This means that food-grade glass can be recycled … Learn why glass is no longer accepted in the curbside recycling program. Did you get a PIN from us? This change applies to county collection customers and private haulers. Charlotte company no longer recycling plastic due to global crisis. Credit: Peggy Fox. I try to stop buying glass items if possible. Chemistry matters. This gives glass the best chance to be sorted effectively and thus recycled into quality products that can be recycled again, retaining the value of the glass material, rather than being down-cycled into products that most likely won’t be recycled again. Next, automated separators called star screens, together with powerful air jets, remove cardboard and paper, while magnets pull out iron-containing materials. “It has an unlimited life and can be melted and recycled endlessly to make new glass products with no loss in quality,” he adds. Fairfax County is making a change this week by asking residents to keep glass out of curbside recycling. Please help us keep the Penn Waste team safe by doing the following: Broken glass such … Recycling food and beverage packaging is high on our list of to-dos because we use so much of it. When glass goes into a landfill, it is not harming the environment or atmosphere. It's kind of a pain, but I make the extra effort at least. Glass is easy to recycle, but not in a single bin with paper and plastic. According to Pennsylvania State University’s John C. Mauro, adding cullet to the feed mixture also improves the quality of glass products. Discount will be applied automatically at checkout. And, unlike in the US, recycling is legislated in many European countries nationally, not locally. Most glass is infinitely and completely recyclable. “In the US, we tend to teach to the test, and recycling isn’t on the test,” he says. Recycling glass has many proven environmental benefits–it reduces emissions, saves energy, and reduces consumption of raw materials. To switch to multistream systems, these municipalities would need to introduce taxes or fees to meet the higher collection and handling costs. The materials were previously sent to Bulloch County, which is no longer accepting glass or plastic. There are two material characteristics that work against glass’s recyclability: Certain types of glass (like Pyrex and window glass) aren’t recyclable, so when glass breaks prior to being sorted at the MRF, it often must be discarded to ensure there is no contamination with potentially incompatible types of glass. “There are many reasons why more glass isn’t recycled in the US,” says David Rue, an engineer at the Gas Technology Institute near Chicago who recently completed a yearlong study of US glass recycling as a consultant for GMIC. Crushed glass, or cullet, is used throughout glass manufacturing and is key to glass recycling. Also, using cullet limits the deposition of crystals of unmelted starting materials, as well as the formation of streaks and optical imperfections due to incomplete mixing of those materials. Multistream recycling, which is a far less common approach in the US, is simpler on the processing end. Citizens in many communities in the Upstate are dismayed by recent announcements that they will no longer be able to recycle their household glass. The key ingredients used in glassmaking are sand (mainly silica, SiO2), sodium carbonate (also known as soda ash, Na2CO3), and limestone (CaCO3). To Ted Tripp, I am looking into a mobile glass recycling unit. If your neighborhood is still accepting glass, consider yourself lucky. Glass is infinitely recyclable without loss in quality. Probably not quickly, experts say. This means those glass tomato-sauce jars can turn out to be the perfect containers to store rice, flour, beans, and other foodstuffs. These efforts begin with a top-to-bottom analysis of glass recycling to identify areas for improvement. Doing so benefits manufacturers, the environment, and consumers. Mixing glass hues diminishes the quality of the recycled product and, consequently, the ability to sell recycled glass in the future. Dear Helen: Some haulers aren’t accepting glass any longer because it has become less cost-effective to recycle it. Sign up for C&EN's must-read weekly newsletter. There are two types of cullet: internal and external. The glass recycling problem: Why is glass no longer being accepted for recycling in many markets? That’s because non-containers are treated with chemicals to make them more durable, but this reduces the recycling market for things like windows, mirrors, light bulbs and glassware. 7 Projects For Kids To Upcycle Jars And Bottles, Free Child Admission with Purchase of Adult Admission, Proper Green: Popular Resolutions for Health, Home, and Environment. I’m thinking about buying a glass cruiser. For those of us who spent most of our lives painstakingly separating plastic, glass, paper and metal, single-stream recycling is easy to love. Often stop accepting it local affairs 10 states have passed so-called bottle bills that require to. 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