A glass bottle that is sent to a landfill can take up to a million years to break down

A glass bottle that is sent to a landfill can take up to a million years to break down. By contrast, it takes as little as 30 days for a recycled glass bottle to leave your recycling bin and appear on a store shelf as a new glass container.  Glass containers are 100-percent recyclable, which means they can be recycled repeatedly, again and again, with no loss of purity or quality in the glass.  Recovered glass from glass recycling is the primary ingredient in all new glass containers. A typical glass container is made of as much as 70 percent recycled glass. According to industry estimates, 80 percent of all recycled glass eventually ends up as new glass containers.  Every ton of glass that is recycled saves more than a ton of the raw materials needed to create new glass, including ,300 pounds of sand; 410 pounds of soda ash; and 380 pounds of limestone. Making new glass means heating sand and other substances to a temperature of 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit, which requires a lot of energy and creates a lot of industrial pollution, including greenhouse gases. One of the first steps in glass recycling is to crush the glass and create a product called “cullet.” Making recycled glass products from cullet consumes 40 percent less energy than making new glass from raw materials because cullet melts at a much lower temperature. Because glass is made from natural and stable materials such as sand and limestone, glass containers have a low rate of chemical interaction with their contents. As a result, glass can be safely reused, for example as refillable water bottles. It can even be used to make fences and walls. Besides serving as the primary ingredient in new glass containers, recycled glass also has many other commercial uses — from creating decorative tiles and landscaping material to rebuilding eroded beaches.