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Youngstown, Warren Waste Recycling

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Generating millions of tons of waste annually, glass is one of the most commonly recycled materials.  Manufacturers use glass to contain numerous consumer products from food to perfume.  The largest source of recycled glass comes from food and beverage containers.

Nearly 30 percent of glass that enters the waste stream is recycled.

Other products, such as furniture, appliances, and electronics, also contribute to post-consumer glass waste.

Using recycled glass to manufacture new glass containers saves energy and money otherwise spent by obtaining raw materials.

In addition to food and beverage containers, cullet can be used as aggregates, decoration, fiberglass, and tile.

Glass can be recycled numerous times to recreate similar containers from which they originated. Container glass is the only type that is reprocessed by bottling plants.

The cullet produced by recycled glass heats at a lower temperature than virgin material, requiring less energy.

Some areas have access to a portable glass crusher.  This machine is mobile and can process glass cullet on-site, increasing the efficiency of using cullet for non-container recycling.


1.    Glass collected from consumers is separated by color or type at a processing facility.  Some  centers require separation before drop-off or pick-up.

2.     Glass containers are moved under a magnet to remove metal materials. Afterwards, other
types of contaminants are removed manually.

Contaminants are a major issue when recycling glass.  Ceramics, plastic, tin, aluminum, light bulbs, and Pyrex can all contaminate glass.

3.      Glass containers are then crushed into small pieces called cullet.  Cullet is combined with sand, soda ash, and limestone then heated to create a shapeable new container.


Much of recycled glass is used to re-create beverage containers.  There are, however, numerous other uses for recycled glass that have been explored within the past decade.

Building materials:  A number of manufacturers have explored using glass cullet in combination with other materials to create counter tops, doors, windows, and tile.

Concrete:  Some manufacturers have used colored glass as an additive for decoration.  Others use ground glass as an aggregate in cement, replacing sandstone. Many manufacturers using glass as an aggregate in cement found an improvement in strength, abrasion, and unwanted chemical reactions.

Sandblasting:  Companies have explored the use of ground glass in sandblasting for industrial cleaning, including buildings and ship hulls. Manufacturers who encourage the use of glass instead of sand emphasize a fewer number of worker health issues and fewer environmental safety issues.

Insulation:  A significant percent of recycled glass is used to create fiberglass materials used in batt and roll insulation.


Paving:  Numerous manufacturers have used glass cullet as an aggregate in asphalt, as well as mixing larger pieces in for sidewalks and trails.  Local and state governments have also used cullet in highway and roadbed construction.


Art:  Numerous art foundries and programs use whole glass containers and cullet to create sculptures, wind chimes, and gift boxes.  Some educational organizations also teach and promote
glass blowing, utilizing recycled cullet.

Tableware:  Some independent companies are successfully fashioning bowls, plates, and glassware out of recycled cullet.


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