The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change defines climate change as "the alteration of our climate as a result of human activity
that changes the composition of the earth's atmosphere."
One of the main contributors to climate change and global warming is CO2 emissions — with methane gas being the second largest contributor. Through global platforms like the UN Climate Action Summit and agreements such as the Paris Agreement, nations around the globe have united to combat climate change and its effects, while still encouraging economic growth.
The effects of climate change include:
- record high rises in sea levels
- unusually high land and ocean temperatures
- melting glaciers
Here are four reasons why glass should be recycled:
1. Recycling glass helps conserve natural resources and reduces
For every ton of waste glass used to manufacture new glass, 1.2 tonnes of natural resources is saved. This means that less CO2 is emitted as 1.2 tonnes of virgin raw material does not need to be quarried, processed and transported prior to being converted into glass packaging.
In addition, glass can be infinitely recycled without any decrease in the quality of new glass packaging produced.
2. It saves space in landfills
By recycling glass, the space being utilised within landfills is reduced because there is less space taken up by glass bottles and jars. Glass is inert and does not release any CO2, but reducing the constant flow of various materials, especially food and other organic waste into landfills, helps to reduce the generation of greenhouse gasses.
Methane is an example of greenhouse gas. There is no causal relationship between glass lying in landfills and greenhouse gasses.
3. Recycling glass assists in reducing our energy usage
One of the biggest benefits when it comes to recycling glass is the reduced use of energy. When you compare the energy used in the production of glass from raw materials to the use of cullet (recycled glass that is crushed and melted), you will find that the required energy is considerably less.
Every ton of new glass bottles and jars made using recycled glass, rather than raw materials, prevents the emission of 670kg of CO2. Ultimately, glass recycling dramatically lowers the release of CO2 into the atmosphere.
4. Going green and reducing carbon emissions shouldn't come at the expense of economic growth
Within developing countries such as South Africa, job creation, entrepreneurial development and poverty alleviation are vital elements in assisting the nation to meet its economic goals. Through recycling, thousands of South Africans earn a source of income from collecting waste glass and selling this valuable packaging to buy-back centres.
While reducing the need for more packaging materials, society is still enabling economic opportunities. Everyone can help by re-evaluating one's household or office and identifying areas where items can be reduced, reused, or recycled.
"We are going to change the fate of humanity whether you like it or not." — Greta Thunberg, climate change activist
If you want to start your own recycling business or to apply for assistance, visit the TGRC website
If you want to start recycling or to find a glass bank where you can drop off your glass, visit www.tgrc.co.za
. You can also follow TGRC on Facebook
or on Twitter.