The weird and wonderful world of glass recycling

By ^GZ – This week’s #ExploreJoburg was not only fun, it turned out into a highly educational trip for the team.

As part of the City’s #RecycleAndReuse campaign, we decided to go and learn about the process of recycling glass at Smelt Glass Studio in Norwood at The Factory on Grant.

skeem

Smelt is a public glass-blowing studio where artists can produce work from recycled glass. The small art gallery and shop is a glimpse into what big glass factories look like and how they operate.

Our exciting activity with glass was facilitated by The Glass Recycling Company, an organisation that promotes  glass recycling in South Africa. They wanted to show us what went into the process of recycling glass as well as the fun and creative journey that takes place within the process.

We stepped into a room that felt like the boiler room from hell, where two artists sat creating masterpieces with glass. We learned that waste glass is collected, sorted according to its colour and the type of glass, and then washed to remove any impurities.

It’s  then crushed and melted in a big stove-like machine, then moulded into new glass products.

It was quite a sight. We then watched the artists  make vases and beautiful glass ornaments for decoration. Lesego, one of our teammates, got into the action and managed to produce a beautiful  art piece from recycled glass to take home.

lee-in-action

glass-ornaments

Importantly, we learned about glass banks, which are large green containers that serve as drop-off points for waste glass that is to be used for recycling. These containers can be found all around the City in various communities, malls, restaurants and schools. People can drop off their beer and wine bottles in that container, as well as jars and other waste glass items.

glass-bank

We were surprised to find out that only 41% of South Africa’s glass bottles and jars are actually being recycled. Just wish it could be more since glass does not degrade through the recycling process, so it can be recycled again and again.

The entire experience had us all inspired to continue to push the City’s campaign of #RecycleAndReuse and to encourage Joburg residents to strive to have a cleaner and greener smart city that we can be proud of.

There is a lot that we can do with our waste glass products. We need more people to participate so that more glass recycling can take place in our City. We encourage everyone to learn more about the importance of recycling glass and recycling in general. Go to www.pikitup.co.za to find out what the City is doing with its #RecycleAndReuse campaign.

For more information on The Glass Recycling Company and its #RecycleAndReuse initiatives, go to www.tgrc.co.za

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