Glass is an ideal material to recycle. 100% of it can be crushed into cullet, melted, and recast into new glassware without its quality degrading. Thus, glass recycling is slowly becoming a thriving industry in many countries around the world. But while all states have their own policies regarding recycling and waste management, some of them do it better than most. Let’s check out Six countries leading the race for a greener environment.
Germany has long been considered the champion country when it comes to glass recycling. In 2003, their government introduced the Pfand system, which regulates the sales and returns of glass and plastic bottles as well as aluminum cans. Basically, it encourages companies to produce recyclable and reusable bottles to minimize CO2 emissions and the public to do their part by disposing of their used containers via reverse vending machines that littered the country. To add further incentive to the program, people get paid €0.08 to €0.15 for every glass bottle they recycle and €0.25 for the plastic ones.
Closely following Germany in the recycling race is South Korea. Recycling is mandatory in the country, and any recyclable items must be sorted out, placed in specialized plastic bags, and taken to designated areas for pick-up. Aside from making recycling a policy in their country, South Korea also plays host to many a glass recycling facility, including Ekko Waste Solutions Ltd., Aquavitrum Ltd, and Shark Solutions A/S.
The United States of America has taken the biggest leap when it comes to glass recycling, although recycling rates and waste management methods vary from one state to another. Many of their cities or curbside recycling and homeowners use shared containers that are collected by their local government or by private glass recycling companies such as our very own Pace Glass. The country also enforces container deposit laws in 10 states; like Germany, they have machines that will receive used containers and print credit vouchers that can be redeemed for cash.
Coming in close to the three countries above when it comes to recycling is Slovenia. In 2013, the country generated more than 200,000 tons of packaging waste, 16% of which is glass. Not content to sit idly by, Slovenia promptly had nearly 104,000 tons of the waste exported for recycling before proceeding to recycle the rest in their own glass recycling plants. Up to 30% of the glass abroad was recycled while the Slovenians themselves took care of recycling up to 86% of the glass left at home.
Austria has been collecting and recycling glass since the mid-1970s. It was reported that up to 234,000 tons of glass were recycled in 2013 alone, and the figure continues to grow with every subsequent year. Glass recycling process was mainly handled by Austria Glas Recycling, a German non-profit organization that advocates recycling and a green environment, and the country’s recycling policy is reputed to be one of the world’s best.
Like South Korea, waste disposal systems and policies vary depending on the region. For glassware, they have specialized containers wherein the public must put them before taking them to the area’s designated container parks. The country is also aided by various glass recycling companies in their battle for a green environment, with one such reputable company revolutionizing the way they recycle glass and subsequently helping them save resources and minimize waste..
Do Your Share
Recycling waste glass helps minimize pollution as well as save significant amounts of natural resources. Therefore it’s only fitting that countries should advocate it just as much as organizations and individuals do. How about you? Got any used bottles and glass containers lying around the house? Do your own share!