Glass definitely has some eco-friendly properties. It is a durable material that can be re-purposed for collecting coins, jams, and other objects, and is one material that most recycling facilities will process. In addition, glass can easily be reused and does not degrade over time. Plastic polymers, for example, break down over time and virgin plastic resin has to be added to recycled plastic to make it strong enough to reuse in other products.
Along with the positive aspects mentioned by eblairbryant, glass has a downside. It’s essentially a human made rock. So when it gets into a form that is not eco-friendly, it could stay that way for a thousand years. So if someone smashes a bottle on a rock, a thousand years later, the pieces are still sharp, and a human or animal who steps on it can still be cut.
The same problem of persistence applies to glass fibers, produced for fiberglass or glass wool insulation. Small fragments, for example inhaled, can cause considerable damage.
As with so many materials, how glass is used and recycled is a critical factor in whether it is eco-friendly.
Yes! Glass is very easy to recycle and even easier to reuse in terms of energy consumption. Glass bottles can be collected and sanitized by boiling hot detergent and water. Heating water hot enough to kill germs uses a lot less energy than melting down the glass completely as must be done in the recycling process. Canada standardized beer bottles so that they could be collected, washed by machines, and re-used. It was also common to do this with milk bottles, and still is in some places.
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