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For more information, please see our video: The Secret of recycling plants the rise of roadside recycling projects in the past few decades means more glass recycling.
But for a long time, many recycling centers have no technology to convert recycled glass into raw materials for new bottles.
Instead, recycled glass is often used as a cheap building material and is even used to cover landfill sites.
Now, with new technology, the glass collected in roadside recycling can be better classified, and more second-hand glass bottles can be turned into new glass bottles.
We went to a glass recycling plant and a bottle making plant to see how this worked.
Outside a recycling plant in Jersey, New JerseyJ.
There are piles of things that look like garbage.
But it's actually broken glass, mixed with plastic bags, bottle caps, etc.
Large items like some jars and plastic cans have been sorted out.
Inside the factory, these things go through more categories.
In order to isolate the glass, the magnet first pulls out the metal cover, lid, small tin cans and other pieces of metal.
Taking the metal out is the easiest part.
But to turn the glass into a bottle, you also have to sort the broken glass by color. (
Clear glass is the easiest to turn into a bottle and the most valuable product in glass recycling. )
Tom Outerbridge said that when the recycling center relies mainly on human labor, cleaning broken clear glass from green, brown and blue is a slow and dangerous job, the general manager of the recycling facility.
The recycling plant today uses optical sorter.
These machines take pictures of all the glass and then blow the transparent glass to a different conveyor belt with an air jet device.
Recycling plants sell broken clear glass to bottle manufacturers such as Ardagh Group located in N. SalemJ.
When we visited, they were making Snapple bottles, Mason jars, and South tarkot nectar bottles.
General Manager Gary Hilles said they use about 150 tons of transparent recycled glass a day. Here's a front-
The final loader delivers 25 tons of recycled glass to the bottle factory: the recycled glass is mixed with soda ash, sand and limestone, and everything melts together in a furnace heated to 2,700 degrees. (
We wanted to take a picture of the stove, but they warned us that it was too hot to get close to it and could ruin our camera lens.
It makes sense considering that the glass is hot enough. )
They can never get enough recycled glass, says Hilles.
Recycled glass melts at a lower temperature than the raw material used to make glass from scratch.
Therefore, more recycled glass means huge energy saving.
Now, his bottle is made up of about 20-
25% recycled glass.
If there is more recycled glass, he will use two or three times the amount, Shears said.
The bright orange molten glass is weighed and cut into pieces called gobs, which are discarded on the mold to form the mouth of the bottle. Then a glass-
The bottle blower blows the melted glass into red-hot bottles.
Salem updated machines can produce about 400 bottles per minute.
Salem glass factory delivers about 3 million bottles of Snapple every Saturday day.
* Note: Previous versions refer to bulldozers that provide recycled glass to bottle manufacturers.
It's actually a front. end loader.