Glass : Environmental Friend or Opponent

Glass : Environmental Friend or Opponent

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

The ‘What Is’ of Glass

Glass is a combination of three types of substances that occur naturally in The us;

silica, the most popular being white sand
alkali, such as sodium bicarbonate
Sometimes a 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 the caliber of the Glass depends upon traditional of alkali and the percentage used, with the choice and percentage of silica used.

The ‘How’ of Glass Production

A silica, an alkali and limestone are first killed into a powdered form, sifting out any coarse allergens. They are then mixed thoroughly and put into a furnace at an extremely warm for as long as a day. This brings molten Glass which is then cooled several hundred degrees becoming a thick liquid. The resulting matter is called frit which is then lost, sent, drawn, shaped or thrown into Glass objects. If the Glass is to be shaped the molds are also heated at warm 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 very 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 tonsils, potentially causing damage to the bronchi. The allergens of metals are hazardous to the environment as they can find their way into surrounding soil and water.

The demand for extremely warm furnaces to burn the combination of substances makes the burning 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, mixed salts and water treatment chemicals.

Glass manufacturing processes also produce 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 viruses 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 influence 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 garbage, 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 weaken no matter how many times it is reused.

Glass dishes and containers are very versatile as they can go from fridge to microwave or your oven. 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 fond of use of better furnaces glass & aluminium polokwane to cut energy use, producing thinner Glass to employ lower temperatures and reduce transport costs, use of air and water is purified 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. Due 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 the caliber of the Glass.
Reuse. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be reused to make new Glass. Unlike other styles 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 transformation time from reuse container to being a new bottle on a store display. Every ton of Glass that is recycled saves higher than a ton of the garbage needed to create new Glass. Because cullet ( Glass pieces for reuse) melts at a reduced temperature, making Glass products from cullet utilizes 40 percent less energy than making new Glass from garbage.
Reduce the amount of new Glass products you pay for. 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, counter tops and landscaping materials that utilize recycled Glass.
Glass is a versatile and beautiful material to use in many issues with our lives. Let’s do our part to turn Glass production from opponent to friend.

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