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Why Recycle Glass? The Answer is Clear

  • Vi Packaging Account Management
  • Industry

Did you know you could be drinking from a glass bottle this weekend and then in a week you could be drinking from the same glass bottle?

When I heard this fact spoken by Craig Myott from O-I Asia Pacific on ABC’s War on Waste I was fascinated. I did not realise that wine bottles could be used over and over, making glass one of the world’s most sustainable products. Although I knew glass could be recycled I didn’t realise that microwave turntables, ovenware, crystal glass, mirrors and light bulbs cannot be recycled. Jars used at home also need to be rinsed because if they are dirty it makes them harder to recycle.

  • Glass was discovered more than 5,000 years ago
  • Glass takes one million years to break down naturally
  • Recycling a glass jar saves enough energy to light a bulb for four hours
  • Crushed glass produce is called ‘cullet’

Source: Clean-up Australia

O-I are doing their bit to improve the sustainability process. With the help of their cullet partners, they are investing heavily in new technology to improve recovery of glass from household recycling collections. This includes optical sorting and x-ray technology to sort glass into colours and remove contaminates, and are building a $5.9m cullet plant in Brisbane with the Australian Packaging Covenant. Positive manufacturing innovations and practices will help to create a cleaner more sustainable future.

So how is glass recycled?

Glass is collected kerbside and taken to a sorting facility. It first goes through a material recovery facility and then will be sent to a glass recycling plant. For optical sorting the glass is sorted into colours down to glass that is eight millimetres in size. Anything smaller is crushed down into powder.

Once the glass is sorted and sized it is sent to another facility to be recreated. By doing this, the energy needed is reduced as it’s already been melted once which reduces carbon emissions.

For every one tonne of recycled glass we use in the process, it replaces 1.2 tonnes of the virgin material (sand, soda ash) that is used to make glass. We take in over 100,000 tonnes of what would previously have gone to landfill and turn about 60,000 tonnes of that back into glass.

Craig Myott, O-I Asia Pacific.

If you have never been for a tour at a glass factory make sure it is on your bucket list of things to do. It was one of the most fascinating factory tours that I have been on and I must say I learnt a lot about the way glass is manufactured and recycled.

If you would like to organise a tour for your colleagues or yourself, please contact our customer service team on 08) 8561 0744 or vipackaging@vinpac.com.au to book a tour with our glass partners Orora Glass or O-I Asia Pacific.

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