How glass is recycled
Empty glass bottles and jars are collected in bottle banks across Hampshire - or through collection schemes in some areas - and taken to a sorting facility.
The bottles and jars are sorted on a conveyor belt to remove any metal or plastic caps. Powerful vacuums suck up the waste from the belts. The glass is then broken up into small pieces called 'cullet'.
The cullet goes through machines that use laser, X-ray and digital technology to remove any remaining contaminants. Each fragment is scanned and identifed by colour and the green, brown and clear glass is separated using air jets.
Cleaned cullet is mixed with the raw materials needed to make new glass – sand, soda ash and limestone. The more recycled cullet that is used (up to 90%), the fewer raw materials are required. A greater proportion of cullet also enables everything to melt at a lower temperature.
Melted glass is cut into individual pieces which can then be fired and blown into the required size and shape before cooling.
The new bottles and jars are transported to companies to be filled with new products. Then it’s off to the shops and the process starts all over again!
Photos courtesy of Berryman Glass.