Providing a large purpose with little concern, glass is a key ingredient in many of our everyday products. Tableware, light bulbs, mirrors, stove tops, windshields, windows: the list is large for some thing not given a second thought. Friend or foe, we need to consider the effects of glass making on the environment.
The ‘What Is’ of Glass
Glass is a combination of three types of substances that occur naturally in North America;
silica, the most popular being white sand
alkali, such as sodium bicarbonate
Sometimes a metallic oxide (lead) is added to the mix. Depending on which alkali is used and whether or not lead is added, the particular clarity or color cast from the glass changes. The expense of making and the quality of the glass is dependent upon the choice of alkali and the proportion used, combined with the choice and percentage of silica used.
The ‘How’ of Glass Production
A silica, an alkali and limestone are usually first crushed into a powder type, sifting out any coarse contaminants. They are then blended and put into a furnace at an extremely high temperature so long as 24 hours. This yields molten cup which is then cooled several 100 degrees resulting in a thick liquid. The particular resulting matter is called frit which is then blown, pressed, drawn, shaped or rolled into glass objects. If the glass is to be molded the particular molds are also heated at hot temperature so the liquid poured into all of them does not wrinkle. The cooling process involves washing with water.
Environmental Impact of Glass Production
The making new glass is not at all environmentally friendly. The initial crushing and grinding action sends particulates of metals, chemicals, acids and dust into the atmosphere. These are easily inhaled causing discomfort to the nose and throat, possibly causing damage to the lungs. The particular particles of metals are hazardous to the environment as they can find their own way into surrounding soil plus water.
The need for extremely high temperature furnaces to melt the mixture of materials makes the melting stage of the cup making process very energy intensive. It really is estimated to take 15. 2 mil BTUs of energy to produce one load of glass. During any one of the formation processes the glass may need to end up being reheated to keep it in liquid form. This means the heat in the furnace should be kept up until the process is finish.
Discharges from the glass making process might find their way into the aquatic atmosphere during the cooling and cleaning procedures where the most significant amounts of water are utilized. Discharges may contain some items of glass, some soluble used in the availability like sodium sulfate, lubricant essential oil used in the cutting process, dissolved salts and water treatment chemicals.
Glass manufacturing processes also emit a significant amount of greenhouse gases especially carbon dioxide. Additionally , the processes spit out air-polluting compounds like nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates.
Benefits of Glass
Glass is nonporous making it impermeable to other substances.
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For this reason glass is a very hygienic surface as any bacteria and germs that come in contact are not absorbed into its framework. Glass surfaces take to strong cleaning with a disinfectant and hot water without effect on its quality. For this reason glass containers can be easily reused often over.
The impermeableness of its construction eliminates any interaction with the kept contents. This, along with glass being made from nontoxic raw materials, dismisses concern of leaching chemicals into the contained substances. In the case of food storage, this also safeguards the freshness and uncompromised taste of the stored substance. Glass containers also do not absorb the odours of the foods in or around them.
As opposed to other materials, glass used in the microwave does not leach any toxins in to contained foods or liquids. Neither does it stain, corrode or degrade no matter how many times it is reused.
Cup dishes and containers are very flexible as they can go from freezer to microwave or oven. Glass is very attractive looking beautiful on desk top or as decorative pieces like candy dishes, storage containers, vases and mirrors.
And cup is 100% recyclable.
Turning Foe into Friend
Many manufacturers have got put into place practices to reduce the negative environmental impact of glass producing. Consideration has been given to use of more efficient furnaces to cut energy use, creating thinner glass to employ lower temperature ranges and reduce transport costs, use of surroundings and water purification systems, plus use of recycled glass to make brand new.
Here are some ways to reduce the environmental results and still enjoy the benefits of glass items.
Reuse glass food and storage containers. Due to the natural properties there is no chemical reaction using the glass container and its contents. Cup items at home can be safely used over and over with no loss in the high quality of the glass.
Recycle. Glass is usually 100% recyclable and can be reused to make new glass. Unlike other types of materials, the reuse associated with glass in no way degrades the honesty of the material. Glass can be melted and reused over and over again. A cup bottle ending life in a landfill can take one million years in order to breakdown. But a recycled glass bottle has about a 30 day turnaround time from recycle bin to as being a new bottle on a store rack. Every ton of glass which is recycled saves more than a ton of the raw materials needed to create new cup. Because cullet (glass pieces intended for reuse) melts at a much lower heat, making glass products from cullet consumes 40 percent less power than making new glass from raw materials.