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Written by: Bill Herren
We use and see through glass every single day. From the mirrors we look at to get ready in the morning, to the bottles we drink orange juice out of, glass is everywhere. What happens when we don’t need glass anymore, like when we have finished our drink? Some people throw the bottles into the garbage with the rest of the trash, but that’s not what should be done. Glass can be cleaned and reused to make new bottles over and over again so it’s never wasted. By taking a few minutes of your day to put glass into the recycling bin at home, school, or elsewhere, you can keep the Earth safe and clean for many years to come.
What is Glass and How is it Made?
Glass is a combination of rocks and minerals (like silica or lime), that when heated together then cooled create the hard material we see today. When the minerals are heated they become a liquid, which is why some types of glass just look like solid water. Because glass starts out as a liquid, it can take on many different shapes and sizes before it cools down and becomes solid. Depending on how it is handled, glass can be reflective like a mirror or darker like some drinking bottles.
What is Glass Used For?
Glass can make many different things that we see and use every day. Mirrors, windows, bottles, glasses, and many decorations are made using glass and other materials too. When you coat one side of glass with something reflective like silver, it creates a mirror so you can see yourself and even scientists can use mirrors to do experiments. When glass is made into tiny strands, they can be linked together to create fiberglass, which is a strong and light material.
Why is it Important to Recycle It?
We should always recycle glass to keep the Earth we live on safe, and to keep it like that for future generations. If we don’t recycle glass (and other stuff) it will just pile up with garbage in landfills, take up land, never dissolve, and create pollution. Pollution from not recycling will make the air we breathe harmful for us and animals, kill trees and other plants, and make it harder in general to live on Earth. If we recycle now, then people won’t have to spend time in the future fixing these mistakes!
The Process from Home to Recycling Truck
It doesn’t take a lot of work for you to make a difference. By taking a few seconds each day when you finish using something glass, like a bottle with juice in it, you put it in a bin that is only meant for things to be recycled. When you are out in public with other people, put the glass (or other recyclable things like cans and plastic) in the bins meant for recycling and not in the garbage. When you put glass or cans in the garbage they aren’t able to be recycled and just sit in a landfill for years. Throw the items into the recycling bin, and put the bin outside where a professional recycling person can put it on a truck and take it away.
What Happens Next?
After you do your part of putting the glass and other stuff into the recycling bin then leaving it outside for someone to take care of, what happens? Once the truck brings everything to a recycling plant, glass is sorted by color, broken down into tiny pieces, cleaned to remove any dirt or labels on it, melted, separated, and then turned into new bottles. Recycling means that fewer new bottles, cans, or paper need to be created from the beginning, so energy is saved and the world can be healthier because of it! It only takes a little of your time to sort these things so the professionals and the machines can do the rest of the work.
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