GreenYes Archives
[GreenYes Archives] - [Thread Index] - [Date Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]

Re: [GreenYes] why to recycle glass
Why recycle glass?
When virgin materials are combined to manufacture glass, about 15 percent by 
weight of the minerals are lost as "volatiles."  The majority of the weight 
loss is in CO2 and NOx.
Remelting recycled eliminates this loss.
Using recycled also decreases energy input by about 10 percent.  My 
recollection is that one 750 ml wine bottle represents about one 
kilowatt-hour of electrical energy equivalent.  Also, my recollection is that 
US consumption of wine bottles is on the order of 2,000,000,000  (2 billion) 
per year.  You do the math.

There is no doubt about environmental benefits from recycling glass.  There 
is doubt about the economics.  Those are somewhat different issues.  The 
biggest reason glass is not economical to recycle is because mined materials 
are so darn cheap.  The question about how to internalize the true external 
costs of mining virgin materials is huge and impossible to take on in this 
political climate, but when one starts throwing stones at glass recycling, 
one should be careful to blame:
The systemic taxpayer support of the mining industry
The thirty years the glass industry lost on its own behalf by fighting every 
environmental initiative
The priority by recycling haulers to minimize up-front collection costs

It's not the fault of the material.

It's a little disconcerting to hear people who otherwise have environmental 
orientations "dis" a material that is infinitely recycleable, relatively 
benign in the manufacturing, and can use any alternative energy source for 
manufacture, and instead say "let's recycled more plastic," a material that 
depends upon international oil markets.

As for alternative glass uses, the purpose of those for some of us involved 
over the years has been to support the overall glass collection 
infrastructure.  And for those interested, a throw-off of that work, for one 
thing, is a tile manufacturing process using 100 percent recycled glass to 
make tile with no emissions, in less than one hour cold-to-cold, using less 
then half the energy of ceramics manufacturing.  See

Bob Kirby
To post to the greenyes list,
email to:

Subscription information for
this list is available here:

[GreenYes Archives] - [Date Index] - [Thread Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]