Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Mikaisia . Mikaisia Wonders, “How is glass recycled?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Mikaisia !

Do you recycle? Each day, you probably have many chances to recycle. For example, your school might have recycling bins. If so, you can recycle all sorts of products. You might also have recycling bins set up at home for aluminum cans or newspapers.

Your family members might also have recycling bins where they work. Have you learned about the importance of recycling? The natural resources on Earth are being used up by the billions of people who live here.

Everyone needs to help cut down on the resources they use. It’s also important to reuse items when you can. When things can’t be reused, they should be recycled. That way, they can be used over and over again.

Can everything be recycled? No, not all things can be recycled. But you might be surprised to learn how many things CAN be recycled. You may already know about aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Did you know you can also recycle glass?

You probably use all sorts of glass items. Just check your refrigerator at home. How many glass jars and bottles do you see? Many might see glass pickle jars, glass leftover containers, and even glass condiment bottles.  Unfortunately, most people only recycle a small fraction of the glass they use.

Glass can be recycled to make all sorts of things. Recycling glass really helps the planet. Making new products from recycled glass causes less air and water pollution. It also uses less energy than making new glass.

When glass arrives at a recycling plant, people and machines sort it by color. Similar colors of glass must be recycled together. That way, recycled products are as pure as possible. This makes them stronger and less likely to break.

Once the glass is sorted, it’s washed. That’s when the breaking begins. That’s right! To be recycled, glass has to be crushed to make a raw material called cullet.

Glass manufacturers love cullet. It’s cheaper than the raw materials they’d need to make new glass. It also melts at a lower temperature. That means they save energy during the production process.

Glass manufacturers mix cullet with other materials like limestone, sand, and soda ash. Then they heat it to over 2600º F. This makes liquid glass, which can then be poured into a mold. There, it cools and forms a finished glass product.

Most recycled glass is used to make new glass containers, such as jars and bottles. However, recycled glass can also find its way into all sorts of other products. That includes fiberglass insulation, ceramic tiles, and a variety of construction products.

Do you recycle at home or school? What glass products should you be sure to recycle when you’re done with them? With everyone doing their part, recycling glass can make a huge difference for the planet!

Standards: NGSS.ESS3.A, NGSS.ESS3.B, NGSS.ESS3.C, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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