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Glass Recycling
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Glass Recycling Feasibility in the U.S.

 by Sarah Maher,

Recycling, as a whole, is a pretty hot topic in the United States. Due to the ongoing ripple effect generated by China’s National Sword Initiative, many are asking the question: is recycling worth it? From what we hear in talking to our customers who are closely tied to the industry the answer is a resounding “YES!”.  That said, many recyclers are feeling the financial burden that comes with the loss of a major customer leading them to second guess the economic plausibility of recycling. One main recycling segment that is feeling the major impact of this adjustment in the US recycling industry is glass recycling.

A material that has remained the cause of many headaches for recyclers across the country, glass, is typically one of the first of materials cut from recycling programs. Many have already removed glass from the list of materials that will be collected, while others have suspended processing of this material.

Made from sand, cullet, soda ash, and limestone, glass can be recycled continuously without losing quality making it an ideal material to recycle.






Although glass is 100% recyclable, the unfortunate truth is that it’s difficult to recover due to extreme contamination. Contamination is an issue that can often be lessened by public education, however, it will never truly disappear. Food Scraps and liquids left inside glass containers make the recycling process difficult. In fact, 60% of single-stream recycled glass ends up in landfills due to contamination. Processing of recycled glass often has its own set of problems. Easily broken, glass can also become a contaminant to other recycled materials, lowering their purchase price as well.  

The outlook for glass, however, is not all negative. The EU is a great example of what can be done with public awareness and improved recycling systems, presenting a glass recovery rate of 74% in 2018 and hovering around 73% for more than 6 years. With the combined effort of the public and improved sorting systems like GK’s Glass Cullet Conveyor, DE-STONER® Air Classifier, and Rod Deck Screens. Glass can be more easily screened and separated improving purity rates and increasing return on investment for U.S. recyclers.


To learn more about how you can increase your glass recovery rate, talk to an expert today!