An average British family uses 330 bottles and jars yearly, according to British Glass, which is why recycling it effectively is of the greatest importance not only to us, as users, but also to the UK economy. The economic benefits of glass recycling are plentiful and crucial to us all, but we should mainly support glass recycling because it’s one of the few products that are infinitely recyclable and cost-effective for the glass manufacturing industry, it reduces waste management costs and it lowers disposal costs such as landfill tax.
Recycling glass creates employment
Glass recycling creates employment, according to Berryman Glass Recycling, and it is estimated that every 100,000 tonnes of glass creates 500 jobs in the recycling field. Recycling all the disposable glass currently thrown away could create an additional 7,500 jobs.
It reduces waste disposal costs
Moreover, because glass makes up approximately 8 per cent of household waste, weight-wise, increasing the amount of recycled glass means waste collection and disposal cost savings, especially since landfill tax is rising. Additionally, glass containers are 100 per cent recyclable, meaning that its purity or quality levels do not decrease with each new cycle, which why it is estimated that 80 per cent of all recycled glass will eventually end up as new glass containers.
The industry stand to gain
Bypassing the processes involved in the making of glass also reduces energy use, and therefore industrial costs. Heating sand to a temperature of 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit/1,426 degrees Celsius, as needed to create new glass containers, uses considerable energy, which is costly. Crushing recycled glass and creating ‘cullet’, however, requires 40 per cent less energy because cullet it melts at much lower temperatures. Using recycled glass also limits the use of sand, soda ash and limestone used in the production stages, and is therefore beneficial to the economy as it reduces acquisition costs for these raw materials. On top of all this, colour sorted recycled glass reduces the use of mixed colour-cullet or ‘3 mix’ used to manufacture new containers, which require large amounts of expensive chemicals for coloring. Additionally, by not producing so much new glass, manufacturers benefit from extended life of expensive plant equipment, such as furnaces. As such, using cullet is immensely profitable in the long-run, lowering all manufacturing costs, besides benefiting the environment.
It is versatile and has secondary uses
Moreover, recycled glass that is unusable in new glass recipients and fiberglass can help produce tiles, concrete pavements, decorative pebbles, and porous paving for parking lots, among others.
It saves energy
According to the Glass Packaging Institute, over a ton of natural resources are saved per ton of glass recycled, therefore saving the exploitation industry immense amounts of costs with fuel and extraction. Every recycled tonne of glass prevents the quarrying of no less than 1.2 tonnes of raw materials. What’s more, companies’ energy costs drop by up to 3 per cent for every 10 per cent cullet used in manufacturing. Furthermore, the energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will power a light bulb for almost an hour, a computer for 20 minutes, and a washing machine for 10 minutes, according to Wrap.
Your local council will be richer
Recycling glass is in your interest as much as it is in your local authority’s interest, because the money that your local council saves in landfill costs can be used to support the growth of your community, and scaling up this concept readily reveals that glass recycling is good for the economy.