From start to finish the glass recycling process is an interesting one. It all starts with you. Yes, you are the first part of the process, for without you the glass would not be collected in the first place. The first order of the process is the separation of the different types. Most of your recycling centers that take your household glass do not take window panes, light bulbs and Pyrex cookware.
The reason that the local centers that are contracted by the city that you live in doesn’t take them, is that the chemical composition of these kinds of glass are much different than that they use as cullet.
The Window panes and Pyrex and even car windows can be recycled, but they cannot go onto the recycling truck that makes it’s route because since it all has to be separated, there is just so much room on the trucks. Special recycling companies are equipped to take the glass that the local center can’t take.
You should have a bin for each color of glass that you recycle. In the recycling process the color cannot be removed, so if green glass got mixed with red glass there would chemical and color contamination. Clear glass goes into one bin, while red goes into another, brown into another bin and so on. Before tossing your bottles and jars into the bins the glass should be rinsed so there will be nothing in the bottles to cause odors in your home. Washing or rinsing also makes it easier to clean at the recycling center. Some people leave their recycling bins outside their home rather than inside because of space concerns. It does take space to collect the different colored glass.
Once the recycling truck has come to pick up your glass for recycling it goes to the recycling center where it’s deposited for separation and cleaning. No matter how much effort we take in the separating, for the recycling process people still make mistakes and mix the colors together and throw in items that are not able to be recycled at the plant, so the employees of the center have to do a final separation. Sometimes the workers find household trash in with the recycled glass, so it takes time for the workers to get the glass ready to be turned into cullet. A big magnet is passed over the glass to get out any metal that has been mixed in.
Once the glass has been washed and separated the glass is headed to the crusher where the recycling process turns the bottles and jars into small pieces called cullet. The cullet is then sold to glass manufacturing companies that make new glass from cullet. Cullet is also used in the making of glass from scratch. Cullet is sold to manufacturing companies that produce concrete, and to companies that produce products for the construction and landscaping business.
The glass recycling process is one of the simplest of all the recycling processes because the glass is crushed up into a gravel like consistency and then sold to processing plants that package and sell the cullet as a product. Contractors use this glass product as filler for drainage areas. It’s sold by the truckloads to construction companies.