New Uses for Old Bottles
According to the Glass Packaging Institute, glass containers are 100% recyclable and reusable, with no loss to the quality or purity of the original glass. The practice of recycling and reusing glass containers is a process that does not introduce additional waste or by-products into our environment.
In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that over 34% of all cullet (recycled waste glass used in glassmaking) was recycled in the United States. Take a look below to learn about the big positive impacts you can make in the environment simply by recycling and reusing glass containers.
Over 1 ton of natural resources are conserved for every ton of glass that is recycled. The composition of glass includes 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone, and 160 pounds of feldspar.
The cost of creating a new glass container drops about 3% every time cullet is used in the manufacturing process. The cullet melts at a lower temperature than raw natural materials, thus melting faster and reducing the amount of energy needed to create a new glass container.
As mentioned earlier, the EPA states that over 34% of US cullet was recycled in 2012. That is the equivalent to taking 210,000 cars off the road each year. This is possible because the use of cullet reduces particulates, nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxides, and other harmful chemicals in the air by up to 10%. In addition, an entire ton of poisonous carbon dioxide is reduced for every 6 tons of cullet used in the manufacturing process. This is important as carbon dioxide traps heat in our atmosphere and in turn contributes to the overall problem of global warming.
In the manufacturing process of new bottles, adding cullet into the mix of materials allows the furnace to be less corrosive. The melting temperature at which the materials melt also drops from 2800 to 2600 degrees Fahrenheit. This in turn, extends the life of the furnace.
When glass containers are recycled, they do not undergo a change in their chemical properties. This is due to the fact that glass containers are recycled through what many refer to as a “closed-loop” system. This means that the glass is reformulated and remanufactured with the same resources that it was made with, rather than additional resources along with the old. This contributes to the slow elimination of raw materials in glass-making.
Remember, recycling glass containers does make a big impact on the environment – but REUSING glass containers reduces CO2 emissions, ELIMINATES the need to use extra natural resources or energy, and extends the life of appliances by ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.
For all you creative cats out there, we have a great DIY project that will not only allow you to repurpose and reuse your glass bottles – but also provide you with a fun and useful new kitchen utensil!
What you’ll need:
An assortment of thick glass bottles (i.e. beer, wine, water, soda)
String of yarn
- Tie a string just above the label on an empty glass bottle.
- Keeping the string tied, wiggle it off of the bottle and soak it in lighter fluid thoroughly.
- Carefully put the string back onto the bottle.
- Holding the bottle horizontally, ignite the string while you rotate the bottle so that the flame can spread evenly. The bottle will crack fairly quickly.
- Run cold water over the string on the bottle until the top of the bottle falls right off.
- Using sandpaper, smooth out the edges of the newly formed cup so that it is safe to use.
- Wash the cup with soap and water before using it.
- These cups go great at summer parties, so DIY and enjoy!
Stay tuned for more recycled bottled projects throughout the summer!
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