Glass recycling before and after the green movement has an interesting history. Way back in history we were not the wasteful people we became in later years. Glass recycling isn’t new. From the time of our hunting and gathering ancestors we have made good use of what we had. At one time glass was a very expensive commodity, so people would not readily discard glass into the trash. We didn’t become a wasteful people until the advent of technology that made our natural resources easily disposable.
There is a big difference in glass recycling before and after the green movement. Until recent years we were tossing away jars and bottles into the burning barrel or taking them to the local landfill. In either case, glass does not break down into its component parts. When you burn glass in your burning barrel it turns black, but does not melt away, nor does glass break down into the sand, ash and limestone that it came from.
Glass recycling before and after the green movement teaches us the importance of reusing or recycling glass. To make a ton of glass it takes more than a ton of raw materials. Then it takes a significant amount of energy to produce the heat that melts the raw materials into the product that we know as glass. To make glass from recycled glass takes only a fraction of the energy that it takes to make glass from scratch, and it doesn’t take any raw materials.
The researchers that have studied glass recycling before and after the green movement have taught us that it is much more environmentally friendly to use glass rather than plastic. Glass is much cleaner to use as a container. Most plastics will lose some of its properties into the product that is contained, while glass will not.
Do you remember having milk delivered to your doorstep? If you are past the age 40 you probably still can remember the milkman delivering your milk in glass bottles. After we used the milk we rinsed out the bottles and set them out on the step for the milk delivery person to pick up and take back to the company. Glass recycling before and after the age of the door to door milk delivery person has changed. The grocery store chains get their milk from factory farms and the milk is delivered in plastic jugs, because plastic is a more disposable commodity and cheaper to produce. The sad thing about using plastic is that plastic can only be recycled a few times before it becomes brittle, but glass never loses any of its properties no matter how many times it is recycled.