Glass is one of the few materials in existence that can be recycled over and over again without losing any of its structural strength or quality.
There are numerous processing facilities around the country that specialise in turning glass bottles into new products. Here are some of the stages that these recyclable bottles go through in this type of facility.
A substantial amount of preparatory work needs to be done before a bottle can be recycled. Firstly, any non-recyclable plastics that are attached to the bottle (such as, for example, its label or cap), along with contaminants like dust and dirt, must be removed.
This removal process is often done using a hoover-like machine, which uses suction to pull unwanted materials off the bottles. If the bottle features metal components, these will usually be removed with metal detection equipment and large magnets.
The bottles are then rinsed to remove any remaining particles of dirt and grime, after which they are dried with hot air.
After the preparatory work has been completed, the glass is then transferred, via a conveyor belt, to another part of the processing facility, where it is sorted according to colour. It is usually separated into three categories, namely, green, amber and clear.
In the past, this was a lengthy process that was performed by hand. However, large glass-sorting machinery is now used for this process. This machine features special types of cameras and sensor equipment that can automatically detect different colours and sort the glass accordingly.
Crushing and melting
Following the sorting process, the separated groups of glass then continue their journey on the conveyor system until they reach a large crushing machine. Here, the glass is crushed into tiny, evenly-sized shards by a set of rotating rollers within the equipment.
The glass is then transported to a furnace where it is exposed to extremely high temperatures that cause it to melt.
While still in this molten state, it is poured into special moulds so that it can be turned into a new product. The shape and size of the moulds will differ from one processing facility to another, depending on what kind of items they need to produce.
Recycled glass can be used to make everything from new bottles, food jars, decorative glass objects, glass sheeting (for use in the automotive and construction industries) and electronic equipment (like computer and smartphone screens). If you're involved in manufacturing and packaging, you should always consider using recyclable bottles and containers that can later be turned into new things!Share