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J&B Recycling Knowledge

Where Does Your Glass Recycling Really Go

Where Does Your Glass Recycling Really Go?

At J&B Recycling, we often encounter the question: "Where does your glass recycling really go?" It is a question we never tire of answering, as glass is a unique material that can be recycled indefinitely without losing quality or purity. This means each piece of glass you recycle contributes to a sustainable future. In this article, we aim to answer the question and highlight the importance of glass recycling.

Glass Recycling at J&B Recycling

As a leading Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and collector of commercial waste in the North of England, J&B Recycling handles over 9,000 tonnes of glass bottles, 20,000 tonnes of MRF glass and 500 tonnes of flat/plate glass every year.

Whilst some local authorities choose to collect glass separately, we receive a significant amount of glass bottles and jars in their kerbside comingled (mixed recyclables) collections. Our aim is to identify and recover as much packaging glass as possible through our highly efficient sorting processes so that it can be recycled via remelt to be made back into glass products such as bottles and jars.

J&B Recycling also collect and process business waste from across the North of England. We have many longstanding customers from the hospitality sector and therefore receive thousands of tonnes of glass every year as part of our commercial waste collection schemes.

We take pride in the fact that 100% of the glass recovered at our facilities for reprocessing stays within the UK, supporting local industries and reducing our carbon footprint.

The Paths of Glass Recycling

At J&B Recycling, we manage two main types of glass:

Although both types of glass are recyclable, their end destinations and processes differ slightly, ensuring optimal recycling for each type.

Bottle Glass Recycling: Bottled glass is primarily collected from the hospitality sector via dedicated glass bins, or from some kerbsides where the council has a separate container for glass bottles only. During the collection phase, the glass gathered typically consists of uncrushed or partially crushed items, often including intact bottles or sizeable fragments. This bottle glass is then transported to specialised facilities in the UK. At these facilities, the glass undergoes filtration and optical sorting, where it's categorised into four distinct colour groups: Clear, Green, Dead Leaf Green, and Amber. Post-sorting, the glass is converted into cullet—a key ingredient in manufacturing various products, with new glass bottles and jars being the primary outputs. This recycling process exemplifies a closed-loop system, where the material is recycled back into its original form, demonstrating an efficient and sustainable approach to resource utilization.

MRF Glass Recycling: When glass is collected and mixed with other materials such as cardboard and plastic, it is compacted in bin wagons to minimise transport costs. This mixed waste then undergoes a sorting process to extract the glass component. The glass recovered from this method is generally smaller in size compared to separately collected bottle glass. To distinguish it, this type of glass is referred to as MRF glass.

MRF glass is ultimately sent to the same recycling facilities as bottle glass. However, it undergoes a more intensive processing stage. This is because MRF glass often contains a higher proportion of non-target materials, including non-recyclable items and organic waste. Like bottle glass, it is processed, colour-sorted, and converted into cullet, although the extra contaminants present in MRF glass necessitate additional processing steps to ensure its suitability for recycling.

The Importance of Recycling Glass

Recycling glass isn't just an eco-friendly choice; it's a commitment to a healthier planet. Every glass bottle or jar you recycle helps save precious natural resources. Instead of mining for new sand, soda ash, and limestone, recycled glass can be used, protecting our landscapes, and conserving the Earth's raw materials. This simple act of recycling glass has a domino effect - it not only preserves natural habitats but also reduces the strain on our planet's resources.

Recycling glass is also a win for energy efficiency. It takes less energy to melt down recycled glass than to produce new glass from scratch, leading to significant energy savings. This reduction in energy consumption directly translates to lower greenhouse gas emissions, playing a crucial role in combating climate change.

The impact of glass recycling goes beyond environmental benefits. It supports a circular economy, where waste becomes a resource, reducing the need for landfill space and contributing to local job creation and economic growth. This cycle of recycling and reusing materials fosters a more sustainable and cost-effective approach to production. Additionally, it inspires communities to engage more with sustainability, spreading awareness and encouraging a culture of environmental responsibility.

Why Keep It Local?

Choosing to recycle our glass within the UK does more than just support local businesses; it's a big step towards protecting our environment. By keeping the recycling process local, we cut down on long-distance transport, which means significantly fewer carbon emissions. This not only helps in combating climate change but also makes the whole recycling process cleaner and more eco-friendly.

Another great benefit of local glass recycling is how it allows for better quality control. With recycling facilities closer to home, we can keep a closer eye on the process, ensuring everything meets the high environmental and quality standards that we demand from the businesses we work with. Regular check-ups and audits help make sure we're always on track, maintaining high standards for the glass that's being recycled.

Local recycling is at the heart of what's called a circular economy. This means we're not just using and throwing away materials. Instead, we're keeping them in use right here in the UK, helping our local economy and environment. It's all about connecting the dots – from collecting to recycling and reusing – to make sure we're making the most out of our resources in a sustainable, earth-friendly way.

For more information on how J&B Recycling can help you with glass recycling, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

J&B Recycling are based in the North of England. Our commercial collection services operate from the Scottish Borders down to Hull and North Yorkshire. Our main areas for collecting and processing commercial waste include Teesside (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton),Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, North Tyneside and Northumberland.

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