April 25, 2021

Glass : Environmental Friend or Opponent

Serving a large purpose with little consideration, Glass is a key ingredient in quite a few everyday products. Tableware, light bulbs, showcases, oven tops, windshields, windows: the list is large for something not given a second thought. Friend or opponent, we need to consider the significance of Glass making on the environment.

The ‘What Is’ of Glass

Glass is a combination of three types of substances that occur naturally in United states;

silica, the most popular being white sand
alkali, such as sodium bicarbonate
Sometimes a precious metal oxide (lead) is added to the mix. Depending on which alkali is used and whether or not lead is added, the clarity or color cast of the Glass changes. The expense of producing and products you can the Glass depends upon the decision of alkali and the percentage used, combined with the choice and percentage of silica used.

The ‘How’ of Glass Production

A silica, an alkali and limestone are first killed into a dust form, sifting out any coarse dust. They are then mixed and put into a furnace at an extremely high temperature for as long as 1 day. This brings molten Glass which is then cooled several hundred degrees causing a thick liquid. The resulting matter is called frit which is then lost, hard pressed, drawn, molded or rolled into Glass objects. If the Glass is to be molded the molds are also heated at high temperature so the liquid poured into them does not wrinkle. The cooling process involves washing with water.

Environmental Impact of Glass Production

The process of making new Glass is not at all environmentally friendly. The initial crushing and grinding step sends particulates of metals, chemicals, acids and dust into the air. These are easily inhaled causing irritation to the nose and throat, potentially causing damage to the lungs. The dust of metals are hazardous to the environment as they can find their way into surrounding soil and water.

The necessity for extremely high temperature furnaces to burn the schooling would include biology substances makes the reducing stage of the Glass making process very energy intensive. It is estimated to take 15. 2 million BTUs of energy to produce one ton of Glass. During any one of the formation processes the Glass may need to be reheated to keep it in liquid form. This means the warmth in the furnace must be kept up until the process is complete.

Discharges from the Glass making process might find their way into the water environment during the cooling and cleaning processes where the most significant amounts of water are used. Discharges may contain some items of Glass, some soluble used in the production like sodium sulfate, lube oil used in the cutting process, absorbed salts and water treatment chemicals.

Glass manufacturing processes also release a significant amount of greenhouse unwanted gas especially skin tightening and. Additionally, the processes spit out air-polluting compounds like nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates.

Benefits of Glass

Glass is nonporous making it impermeable to other substances. For this reason Glass is a very hygienic surface as any bacteria and bacterias that come in contact are not absorbed into its structure. Glass surfaces take to strong cleaning with a disinfectant and domestic hot water with no affect on its quality. For this reason Glass containers can be easily reused many times over.

The impermeableness of its structure eliminates any interaction with the stored contents. This, along with Glass being made from nontoxic raw materials, dismisses concern of leaching chemicals into the contained substances. In the case of food storage, this also safeguards the taste and uncompromised taste of the stored substance. Glass containers also do not absorb the smells of the foods in or around them.

Unlike other materials, Glass used in the microwave does not leach any toxins into contained foods or drinks. Nor does it stain, corrode or worsen no matter how many times it is reused.

Glass dishes and containers are very versatile as they can go from fridge to microwave or range. Glass is very attractive looking beautiful on table top or as decorative pieces like candy dishes, storage jars, flower vases and showcases.

And Glass is 100% recyclable.

Turning Opponent into Friend

Many manufacturers have put into place practices to reduce the negative environmental impact of Glass making. Consideration has been provided to use of more sound furnaces glass & aluminium polokwane to cut energy use, producing thinner Glass to employ lower temperatures and reduce transport costs, use of air and water purification systems, and use of recycled Glass to make new.

Here are some ways to reduce the environmental effects and still enjoy the benefits of Glass products.

Recycling Glass food and storage containers. To its natural properties there is no chemical reaction with the Glass container and its contents. Glass items at home can be safely used over and over with no loss in products you can the Glass.
Selling. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be reused to make new Glass. Unlike other kinds of materials, the recycling of Glass in no way degrades the integrity of the material. Glass can be melted and reused over and over again. A Glass bottle ending life in a landfill can take one million years to breakdown. But a recycled Glass bottle has about a thirty day turnaround time from selling trash can to being a new bottle on a store corner. Every ton of Glass that is recycled saves higher than a ton of the raw materials needed to create new Glass. Because cullet ( Glass pieces for reuse) melts at a cheaper temperature, making Glass products from cullet takes in 40 percent less energy than making new Glass from raw materials.
Reduce the amount of new Glass products you get. Because it has found its way into so many commercial uses it is now easy to find products made from recycled Glass. Look for tableware from cullet, recycled Glass jewelry, decorative tiles, display and landscaping materials that utilize recycled Glass.
Glass is a versatile and beautiful material to use in many facets of our lives. Let’s do our part to turn Glass production from opponent to friend.

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