Caption: While walking on the glittering sidewalks, you and I know the backstory behind the beautiful paths. The reflective particles on the road surface originate from the recycling of waste glass!
【EN】Multiple uses for recycled waste glass containers
Have you ever thought about what happens to the glass bottles we take to the recycling truck or recycling station? What kinds of recycling processes will those waste glass containers go through and what will they become?
Sorting and color separation to enhance the added value of recycled pellets!
Caption: The waste glass recycling process: After the waste glass arrives at the factory, it is first sorted and separated into several color categories. This is followed by the removal of ferrous metals by electromagnetic separation. Then it is crushed, washed to remove organic matter, sieved through a vibrating screen, and finally glass pellets are produced. (Photo Credit: the Environmental Protection Administration, Executive Yuan).
The primary sources of waste glass are flat glass, container glass, automobile glass, light bulbs and tubes, CRTs, etc. The most suitable type of waste for recycling is container glass due to its safe, stable and non-toxic and inert characteristics. It is commonly used for producing liquid containers, such as beer, beverages, cooking wine, cosmetics, etc., and these glass bottles and jars that you are familiar with are generally classified into three color categories during sorting: dark-brown, green, and transparent. Without color separation or in the case of poor color separation, the glass will end up as a composite glass colorant (also known as an integral glass colorant).
In fact, there is not much difference in the composition of the various types of glass bottles on the market. The separation process is carried out to ensure that the glass sand produced has a single color and can be utilized in general glass furnaces, thereby increasing the diversity of reuse channels and avoiding the situation where the regenerated pellets pile up again as waste material due to narrow usage channels.
Therefore, in order to enhance the added value of glass sand, it is recommended that when we recycle glass bottles, we should remove the bottle cap and rinse and dry the bottles to remove residues from grease, seasoning, or chemicals. Proper color sorting can also improve the quality of waste glass recycling.
The applications of recycled waste glass materials can be seen in all aspects of daily life
Caption: Recycled waste glass containers can be divided into prototypes being repurposed for production of flower vases or decorative arts and the regenerated glass pellets into new environmentally friendly materials for civil engineering, construction, and industrial applications. (Photo Credit : the Environmental Protection Administration, Executive Yuan).
The recycling of waste glass containers includes finished and semi-finished products. Semi-finished products include colored glaze glass, and finished products include floor tiles, regenerated building materials, glass fibers, chemical adsorbents, glassphalt, artificial marble, etc. The applications are usually determined according to the quality of the regenerated pellets. The coarse glass pellets are used as building materials for glassphalt, lightweight frame materials, cement bricks, interlocking bricks, red glass bricks, etc. The fine glass pellets are used for ceramic glaze or made directly into containers, flat glass products, etc. The top quality regenerated glass is made into colored glaze glass.
Spring Pool Glass Industrial Co. Ltd, which recycles 100 million kilograms of waste glass every year, believes that the circular economy should be “upgraded” and waste materials be reprocessed rather than being “downgraded.” The “colored glaze glass” is one example of upgrading waste glass, transforming it into displays of colored glazed glass artworks. The material is even harder than marble, brighter than granite, has a near-zero water absorption rate, and its strontium and barium elements are capable of blocking UV rays. It also features a low expansion coefficient and low degradability, making it an ideal material for patchwork walls, public artworks, garden trails, poolside decorations, garden pots, etc.
The diversified range of compositions of plastic containers tend to deteriorate during the high-temperature melting process of recycling, which means they can only be degraded and reused. In contrast, waste glass is a material that can be completely recycled and reused. Its main component, silicon dioxide (SiO2), is similar to general sandstone. After waste glass recycling, the regenerated glass pellets (commonly known as glass sand) can appropriately replace some of the sandstone added to the general road surface as “glassphalt,” or they can be made into various types of glass such as floor tiles, wall tiles, porous bricks, environmentally friendly building materials for roads and landscapes, etc. Recycling waste glass containers can reduce the consumption of natural resources and fulfill the sustainable concept of environmental protection through “recycling and reuse.”