In Singapore, 73,500 tonnes of glass waste was generated in 2013 and the recycling rate is 20%. Glass waste is usually sorted and exported overseas for recycling as there are no glass recycling plants in Singapore.
Let’s take a closer look at glass recycling:
1. Types of Glass for Recycling
Glass bottles, jars, containers and glass sheets are collected and sorted into the different colours for recycling: Clear, Brown and Green.
2. Why Recycle Glass
There are environmental benefits to glass recycling. According to Waste Online:
If recycled glass is used to make new bottles and jars, the energy needed in the furnace is greatly reduced. After accounting for the transport and processing needed, 315kg of CO2 is saved per tonne of glass melted.
For every tonne of recycled glass used, 1.2 tonnes of raw materials are preserved.
Recycling reduces the amount of waste glass which needs to be landfilled. Although glass is inert and is not directly hazardous to the environment, it will remain there indefinitely.
3. The Glass Recycling Process
At the glass recycling plant, glass waste is sorted into different colours and crushed into small pieces called cullets. Contaminants such as paper and metal are removed, and the cullet is melted in a high temperature furnance. The molten cullet is then molded to form glass products.
Watch this animation video on the glass recycling process from RecycleBank:
4. Recycled Glass Products
Glass waste can be recycled continuously and made into new glass products like bottles, jars, containers and ornaments. The glass cullet can also be crushed into powder and used as material in making bricks, tiles, abrasives and replacement of sand.
Watch this video on how abrasives are made from recycled glass cullet powder:
5. Glass Recycling in Singapore
In Singapore, 73,500 tonnes of glass waste was generated in 2013 and the recycling rate is 20%. Glass waste is usually collected through the recycling programmes. The glass waste is sorted and exported overseas for recycling as there are no glass recycling plants in Singapore.
It is also common for beer bottles to be collected from restaurants, hotels and food outlets for reuse in a local brewery (not included in the recycling figures).
6. Collectors, Traders and Recycling Companies for Glass
To find a recycling collector or someone who wants your glass waste, check out NEA’s list of collectors and traders.
For companies, you can use the online business waste exchange, Waste is not Waste, to find someone who wants your waste.
7. What Can I Do
You can recycle glass bottles and containers through the various recycling programmes at home, in school and your office, or through the public recycling bins. But before you do so, remember to Reduce and Reuse your glass waste.