City should consider glass recycling

Published 8:16 pm Friday, February 14, 2014

I would like to thank you for all you have done for our city! Troy is a great place to live, and I am grateful for all of the hard work that has gone into making our city what it is. Just as being Mayor is a tremendous honor, so is being “Mayor for the Day” and I would be proud to be given the opportunity. Troy has a great recycling program, and we even have a recycling plant right here in our town. We do a fabulous job of recycling paper, plastic, and aluminum, which is amazing since the average American generates over 4 pounds of trash a day; however, I feel that we need to add glass to that list and make Troy even better! Recycling glass is good for the environment, it is efficient and simple, and it would be of great benefit to our city.

Recycling glass is good for the environment. In 2009, Americans threw away almost 9 million tons of glass. That could fill enough tractor trailers to stretch from New York City to Los Angeles and back! A glass bottle that is sent to a landfill can take up to a million years to break down. If recycled, it could take as little as 30 days from the time the glass leaves your kitchen to appear on a store shelf as a new container. Every ton of glass that is recycled saves more than a ton of the raw material needed to create new glass. It is also 100 percent recyclable, which means glass bottles can be recycled again and again with no loss in the quality of glass.

Glass recycling is efficient. Recovered glass from glass recycling is the primary ingredient in all new glass containers. A typical glass container is made up of as much as 70 percent recycled glass. To make new glass, you must heat sand and other substances to temperatures of 2,600 degrees. This requires a lot of energy and creates a lot of industrial pollution. One of the first steps in glass recycling is to crush the glass and create a product called “cullet”. Making glass from cullet uses 40 percent less energy than making it from raw materials because cullet melts at a much lower temperature.

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Recycling glass is simple! It is simple because glass is one of the easiest materials to recycle. For one thing, glass is accepted by almost all curbside recycling programs and recycling centers. All people have to do to recycle glass bottles and jars is to carry their recycling bin to the curb or drop them off at a nearby collection point. If you need to give an extra incentive to recycle glass, you might want to offer a refund. Several US states offer refunds for most glass bottles. It might be a way for members of our community to put a little extra money in their pockets and save our environment at the same time.

I would like to ask you to consider adding glass recycling to our wonderful recycling program and make Troy even more efficient. It would not only be great for our citizens, but also for our environment and future generations. Recycling glass is good for the environment, it is efficient and simple, and would be a great benefit to our city. Please think about including it in our program.

Kaylee Ferraro

Pike Liberal Arts School

(Editor’s note: This is Kaylee Ferraro’s winning essay from the 2014 Troy Mayor for Day contest).