Cullet recycling in Poland and across the world
Cullet is a resource obtained from damaged and unnecessary glassware. It is also waste generated in the process of cutting glass or shaping products. Glass is such an extraordinary material that it can be reused in 100%. It has many features that make it a very ecological and economical raw material. First of all, cullet can be melted an infinite number of times, because it does not degrade its quality. This contributes to the protection of the natural environment as well as energy saving. It also shows that selective collection of glass waste is very important and enables the production of cullet, which will be used for the production of new products.
The process of cullet recycling
The recycling process of different types of cullet varies a little. In the case of packaging waste, this cycle begins from the consumer, who sorts waste with regard to its colour. Then waste glass is taken to recycling plants, which before reusing it, subject it to a crushing process, then sort and separate it from other foreign objects. In addition, cullet is washed and dried to ensure that it is not contaminated with any chemicals or food. Glass prepared like this can finally be delivered to a glassworks.
When glass waste recycling, it is also important to separate flat glass from the packaging glass, because they differ from each other in chemical composition and have a different melting point, which is higher for flat glass. Hence the packaging glass cullet is directed to the packaging glassworks, whereas the flat glass cullet to window glassworks.
The re-use of glass waste saves primary glass raw materials – sand, soda and limestone powder – and also lowers production costs and demand for heat. This in turn affects the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
Summing up, this is the process of recycling glass in short:
- Glass collection and division into colours
- Sorting of glass waste
- Crushing the glass into cullet
- Separation of paper and metal residues
- Re-crushing of cullet
- Removal of other impurities
- Melting cullet in a glassworks
- Production of new packaging
The use of cullet
As we all know well, glass is one of the most important artificial materials. It is used practically in every area of life.
Cullet may be used as:
- addition to ceramic mass (in the form of glass powder),
- addition to cleaning pastes (in the form of glass powder),
- a component of the glass furnace charge,
- material for preparing grits for plasters, glass beads, foam glass, glass fibres, insulation mats and boards, as well as laminates, porous materials, glass powders and cement,
- raw material for the production of glass packaging and optical glasses.
Why should we recycle glass?
As many as 3,000 new half a litre bottles can be made from a ton of cullet! This is just one of the many benefits of glass recycling. In addition, re-use of this raw material saves a lot of energy and water that is used in the production of new glass. This, in effect, significantly reduces production costs. What is more, recycling reduces the emission of carbon dioxide, which means there are less harmful substances in the air. The idea of cullet recycling is therefore a very positive step towards improvement of the condition of our environment.
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