Glass Recycling has been a topic of hot debate this month with concerns being raised about the quality of recycled household glass and how it being delivered to recycling plants. It has been circulated that councils practicing commingled recycling (that is mixing different colours of glass) can only use the recycled material to make roads or send to landfill.
It's easy to be mislead by this kind of talk and regrettably some may be discouraged from participating at all when they consider the time and effort invested each month to sort their household waste.
The fact is that mixed glass cannot be re-melted and used as new glass bottles as colour purity is crucial. However, pre-melt colour separation technology (such as digital scanning cameras) can be used to separate the clear from the green, making it suitable for the container industry. Unfortunately not all recycling plants have this technology and those that do require substantial investment and produce high levels of waste.
The good news is that glass separating technology is improving and colour contamination is becoming less of a problem. Also the more glass we send off to be recycled the greater the need for new recycling plants with better technology to meet our enthusiastic recycling demands.
Ultimately the more glass we bother to recycle, the more likely we'll be drinking from it again.