Lead Image Source: Lauren Manning/Flickr

If you’re a conscious consumer, you have probably come across some very interesting and innovative products of late.  From solar-powered electronic devices to jeans made from plastic bottles, it’s evident that consumer demand for eco-friendly products is on the rise. But with the rapidly increasing interest in “green” living, it’s important not to overlook the basics- like recycled glass.

Recycling glass is a great way to keep waste out of landfills, help conserve natural resources, and reduce the amount of energy that is used in the glass manufacturing process. One of the biggest advantages of glass is that it can be continually and indefinitely recycled, without compromising strength or quality (unlike paper or plastic, which start to degrade.) Glass produced from recycled scrap (or “cullet”) creates 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than glass made from raw materials. Each ton of recycled glass saves a ton of natural resources, including sand and limestone. Making products from cullet requires lower furnace temperatures for melting, further reducing energy consumption by 20-30%. As well as being environmentally advantageous, recycled glass is an inert material that is both food-safe and impermeable.

Fortunately, almost all glass containers are produced using some recycled material, as it is not only environmentally friendly, but economically beneficial. In fact, green glass bottles generally contain about 70% recycled material (remember that next time you go to buy beer!) However, only 33% of post-consumer glass is currently being recycled in the US, so a lot more needs to be done to prevent glass from piling up in landfills.

So what can you do? Firstly, you can safely recycle jars and bottles within your own home. Simply wash and sterilize with boiling water, then re-use them as drinking glasses or containers. The next step is to find out about curbside glass recycling programs in your area, or take your used glass containers to collection points. Contaminants such as dirt or lids can interfere with the recycling process, so be sure to remove these, and sort your glass by color if required. (Ovenware, light bulbs and windows should not be included.)

Finally, you can purchase eco-friendly products that are made from recycled glass. We’ve selected 7 superb sustainable options.

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