Not all materials are recycled the same and not all materials can be recycled indefinitely. Follow our series as we explore how many times different materials can be recycled and search for the phoenix of recycling
Part 3: Glass - perpetually recyclable with some added raw material
When separated by color, glass bottles can be recycled into new bottles indefinitely with a little bit of added virgin sand or soda ash. Recycling glass saves 33% more energy than creating virgin glass bottles, saving money for manufacturers. However, the weight of glass makes it expensive to transport to recycling facilities farther away.
Luckily for Clark County, Glass to Glass is a quick trip across the river to Portland.
You can recycle glass bottles and jars at the curbside—but NEVER put glass in your mixed recycling cart. Furthermore, tempered glass like cups and cookware, windows and mirrors, should not be recycled because the treated glass is a different composition which causes problems during recycling processes. At Glass to Glass, the jars and bottles are sorted by color using an optical light scanner to separate the glass into high quality material. These glass cullets are then made into new bottles and distributed throughout the U.S.
Reduce Waste and Keep Recycling!
Even if a product isn't reincarnated into its original form, recycling extends the lifespan of these materials, and lessens the negative impacts on the earth by reducing the need for raw resources. The most significant change you can make is to reduce your waste, use reusable options, and make consumer choices with the lifecycle of the product and its packaging in mind.