Now that we’ve recently discussed what happens to the paper recycled at home, let’s learn a little about the glass recycled at home. While glass has the quickest turnaround of any product in the bin a recycling agency collects from the home, a large portion of it is not actually recycled, despite a strong market demand for it.
Often, glass falls victim to the concept of downcycling. Downcycling means the materials that make the product are recycled into a product of lesser quality, or for something outside the original purpose. For example, a glass wine bottle might become fiberglass or an additive when making cement or ceramic tiles.
Why does this happen with glass? Glass is breakable. Larger shards are ideal to reuse for similar glass containers, but the glass is susceptible to being crushed, lowering its quality.
It so happens that glass is also the least recycled product from consumers. Some states incentivize residents with deposit laws. It is also important for consumers to know where and what glass is accepted for recycling. Educating others will lead to more consumers recycling glass in the right places, allowing the demand for glass to recycle into new products be met.