How to make a valuable raw material from waste glass

Glass is one of the oldest artificial materials in the world and is used today in all colors and shapes. In 2017 roughly 7.5 tons of glass were produced in Germany, of which approximately four million were used for glass containers. Roughly, two million tons were processed into so-called flat glass, i.e. into panes and mirrors. A further 402,800 tons were used to make special glasses for household, research and industry Glass is also used as an insulating material: In 2017 almost one million tons of glass wool was produced from the brittle material, and was mainly used in construction.

As glass is also highly valuable as a secondary raw material, the Germans collect waste glass diligently – roughly 2.2 million tons per year. To this end there are roughly 300,000 collection containers in public areas statewide. It is important when collecting glass that the consumer pre-sorts the glass according to color. For this reason the glass containers are divided into white glass, brown glass and green glass. In a few areas there are also colored glass or mixed glass containers. Blue and yellow glass can be disposed of in the containers for green glass. This separation is important, as brown and white glass can be recycled much more efficiently than mixed glass. To recycle white glass shards only three of one thousand bottles can be a different color.

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