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RE: [greenyes] The environmental impacts of recycling glass
Do the studies and the numbers John cites include the impacts upstream?
The impacts from mining? How far back you stand to look at this issue
impacts the information you get. The reason you do or don't recycle
impacts where you stand.

Helen's point about glass aggregate points to another viewpoint. The
reason the glass she refers to isn't being recycled back into glass is
because it isn't being looked at as a resource but rather as a garbage
to collect off the street. 

You can back up your own opinion easily. 
Seeing another viewpoint is more difficult.

Susan Hubbard
Eureka Recycling
624 Selby Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55104
651.222.7678
651.221.9831 (fax)
susanh@no.address
www.eurekarecycling.org
 
 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Helen Spiegelman [mailto:hspie@no.address] 
Sent: Monday, April 14, 2003 9:47 AM
To: greenyes@no.address
Subject: Re: [greenyes] The environmental impacts of recycling glass

Thanks to John Reindl for supplying yet another piece of credible
testimony 
underscoring the limited environmental benefits of recycling glass.

Everyone needs to understand that the environmental benefits quantified 
below apply only when the glass is recycled back into glass. The much
more 
common practice is to "recycle" glass into drainrock/aggregate
substitute 
at construction sites. This "recycling" application represents a
complete 
write-off of all the energy used to transform the sand into glass in the

first place.

Is glass recycling a benefit to the environment or a feel-good exercise
at 
considerable public expense?

Helen.

At 09:05 AM 04/14/2003 -0500, Reindl, John wrote:
>Hi all ~
>
>I have seen various computer models that tally up the environmental
impacts
>of recycling glass. The latest -- and very clearly stated -- is in the
2001
>edition of "Integrated Solid Waste Management: A Life Cycle Inventory",
by
>Forbes McDougall, et. al.
>
>On pages 441-442, Table 22.3 compares about 50 parameters, and I would
be
>glad to copy and either mail or fax the tables to people.
>
>Here are some of the data, expressed on a metric ton basis of finished
>product:
>
>    Parameter                    Virgin          Recycled
>
>Engery (GJoules)                14.5                11.04
>
>Carbon dioxide                  145,600            57,000
>
>NOx                             1500                  2880
>
>Suspended solids - water        7760                    796
>
>Chlorides -water                        99,900               8,410
>
>Total organics - water              68.5                      80.7
>
>On the energy issue, a gigajoule is a billion joules and there are 1054
>joules in a BTU. Thus, making a metric ton of glass from recycled
material
>saves about 3.3 million BTUs, or 3 million BTUs per US ton, according
to
>this source. In comparison, according to data in the March/April 1981
issue
>of BioCycle, an article by Jerry Powell puts the savings at 2.95
million
>BTUs a ton, although the article has alternative estimates of 1.3 to
2.5
>million BTUs. In the same article, it is noted that a gallon of
gasoline has
>128,000 BTUs.
>
>The data do not include the impacts of collection, processing or
>transportation, which is included in other sections of the book.
>
>Other LCA models also exist, including one by Argonne National Labs,
which
>looked at the distance to which cullet can be transported before the
energy
>of transportation exceeds the energy savings. If  I can find the data
of
>these other studies, I will let people know.
>
>It should be noted that on a per ton basis, the energy savings from
glass
>are less than the savings from all other products listed in the above
book.
>The book listed above does not evaluate the relative importance of the
>various environmental impacts nor does it look at a possible economic
value
>for the individual impacts, as is done in environmental valuation
studies.
>
>John Reindl, Recycling Manager
>Dane County, WI
>
>
>
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