The process of producing and recycling glass bottles starts with the consumer who buys beverage bottles, or medicine in glass bottles. We have to rinse them out after use and sort them by color. Clear bottles are separated from colored ones, and each color is separated from each other. Once the glass bottles go out to the curb to be collected, the process of producing and recycling glass bottles begins for real.
Once the glass bottles get to the recycling center they are sorted. The glass is washed and sent to the crusher. Once the glass is crushed into small pieces it is called cullet. Any trash or debris is removed from the glass, and a big industrial magnet is passed over the glass to remove any iron filings, steel or any metal that has an iron base. Inspectors work with the recycled glass to help screen it. The cullet is fed into a machine that filters out any debris that has been overlooked. From there it goes to be melted.
The process of producing and recycling glass bottles is a continuing process. Glass can be recycled and melted over and over again without losing any of its properties. Even new glass being made from raw materials is made with cullet, because glass cullet has all the raw materials in the glass already without having to take from the environment.
The process of producing and recycling glass bottles in the formation of new glass is quite interesting. To make one glass bottle weighing 395 grams (about 13 ounces) it takes 2 liters of water, 53 grams of dolomite (a type of sedimentary rock), 23 grams of feldspar (mineral crystals found in the earth’s crust), 73 grams of soda ash (sodium carbonate), 42 grams of limestone, and 248 grams of silica sand (sand made from quartz). It also takes 0.244 kWh of electricity, and 3.57 MJ (million joules) of natural gas. Now think of the energy and natural resources that would be used to manufacture millions of bottles each day from scratch without recycling. The process of producing and recycling glass bottles uses cullet in the production of glass to help sustain the environment.
To get an idea about the composition of the greenhouse gas that is released with glass production from scratch, there is not only carbon dioxide, but there is also lead, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other particulates. The process of producing and recycling glass bottles helps to lower the amount of greenhouse gas released into the air.