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Glass recycling, all the info

Glass recycling, all the info

Glass recycling:what you get from recycled glass. Differentiated collection of glass and how to explain the importance of this material in a primary school.

When it comes to glass recycling Italians can walk with their heads held high: Italy proves to be virtuous for the quantity of glass collected and sent to recycling, we are talking about over one and a half million tons of glass and with this figure, Italy ranks among the countries of Europe that best manage glass waste.

How to explain glass recycling to children

To give glass recycling lessons to primary school children, you can follow the guide:how to explain recycling to children. Among the examples we propose that of glass.

Glass recycling in Italy and Europe

With more than 1,800,000 tons, Italy is in second place in the ranking of the European countries most "recyclers" of glass, ahead of us only Germany.

According to data published by the European Federation of Glass Container Manufacturers, the average rates of glass recycling in the European Union, as early as 2012, they have exceeded the 70 percent threshold and Italy is positioned above this average and, in the last 5 years, the collection of glass has only improved. From the 1990s to today, the glass recycling grew by 131%.

The data also show that the growth of the sector is proportionate not only to the reduction in resource consumption but also to a reduction in environmental impact: thanks to glass recycling 189 million tons of raw material and 138 million tons of waste were saved which did not end up in landfills.

To make the idea of ​​savings dictated by the good practice of glass recycling, it has been calculated that the equivalent of two Egyptian pyramids could be built with only the raw material saved to produce new glass.

“Recycling remains the way to go - he has declaredStefan Jaenecke, president of FEVE - that's why 40 years ago we helped to implement the system of glass recycling, to inform the public and to manage glass containers and bottles as precious resources for our industry. At the time, we didn't call it the circular economy, but that's exactly what it is! "

With the recyclingnot only raw materials are saved, the savings are felt in energy terms throughout the production chain. In other words, producing glass from virgin material costs much more energy than that invested in restoring the collected glass but only when the product is at zero km and does not require long-distance transport. The raw material to produce glass is actually very cheap, hence the convenience ofglass recyclingit is exclusively linked to good management of the glass collected.

The real economic advantages do not lie in the lack of supply of the raw material, but in the energy savings linked to its transformation.

For recycle glass only one third of the energy used to produce it from scratch is sufficient. The glass is collected and after a few treatments that will determine its purity, the glass it is melted and so it is ready to face a new life cycle.

The “mixed” type collection, as happens today in Italy, allows the production of only yellow and green glass even if, economically, the dark glass is much more “valuable”. In Italy we should now aim for the separate collection of glass…. differentiating it by color! A recycling more efficient would be possible by separating the different colors of glass: green, white and brown.

Glass recycling in Germany

The raw material of glass production is mainlysilica sand. Silica sand accounts for 12% of the earth's crust and is therefore an inexpensive and abundant raw material. Glass, due to its source material, is an economical product to be processed from scratch. The convenience of theglass recyclingresides, as stated, in being able to save energy during the production chain.

Pure silica sand has a melting temperature of 1700 ° C and requires 25% more energy than the melting of glass conferred with separate waste collection.

This economic and environmental advantage is lost if the glass destined for recycling has to travel many kilometers and require energy for transport. For this reason, the most virtuous countries try to carry out the entire glass recycling chain within their borders.

Glass sent with separate collection in Italy often ends up in Switzerland or France. Germany, on the other hand, manages to carry out all phases of recycling within its borders.

The rate of glass recycling in Germany it is 85% and with this percentage Germany holds the record as the most recycler in Europe for this material.

In Europe, the countries that recycle the most glass, in order, are:

  • Germany 85%
  • Italy 77%
  • Spain 67%
  • France 63%
  • United Kingdom 62%
  • Poland 44%

In Germany, theglass recyclingit also aims at reuse, in fact there are programs forreturnable. When purchasing a beer or any glass drink, the consumer pays a deposit ranging from 8 euro cents up to 15 cents.

Glass, better recycling or reuse?

The glass bottles can be reused, in theory, indefinitely. A more rational estimate is that a glass bottle can be reused up to 50 times.

It is not easy to determine if therecyclingor thereuse of glass because there are many factors to consider:

  • Glass waste is easier to transport because it is finely chopped. Undamaged bottles take up more space and require more transport care.
  • Treatment fees have a strong impact. The glass bottles to be reused must undergo cleaning and rinsing treatments ... Similarly, the glass destined for recycling must undergo a melting and remodeling treatment.
  • Bottle filling is only possible in standardized modules.

Glass recycling, recycling codes

Recycling code 70 - GL indicates colorless / white glass. Recycling code 71 GL indicates green colored glass. The recycling code 72 GL indicates the finest brown glass.

Glass recycling, what you get

From glass collection, not only more glass is obtained. The secondary markets for glass collection can lead to the production of:

  • Insulating products for green building
  • Ceramic glass sanitary products
  • Glass ceramic bricks
  • Glass bricks
  • Synthetic grass
  • Sand for golf courses
  • Kitchen tables
  • Sinks and other sanitary ware
  • Water filtration systems
  • Glass as an abrasive material
  • Glass as an aggregate of building materials

All Italian citizens have a duty to do their part, which is why we offer you a careful and timely guide on How to recycle glass.


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