Glass recycling – what you need to know
Please use the large public bottle banks near your home for disposing of old glass bottles and jars. Sort them into the three colors green, clear and brown. Glass of any other color should be put in the bottle bank for green glass.
Be considerate of your neighbors!
There is a downside to living near a bottle bank – the noise. To avoid disturbing your neighbors, please only put glass in the bottle banks between 7 am and 7 pm on working days.
What not to put in the bottle bank
Flat glass such as windows and mirrors, heat-resistant glass and lead glass should be taken to a recycling yard. Incidentally, the recycling yards also take earthenware and ceramics.
Bottle glass, stained glass, earthenware
Unusual colors of glass are becoming more and more common. These days it is no rarity to encounter bright red or blue wine bottles, or black champagne bottles. People often ask whether it is possible to recycle these more outlandish colors of glass.
The answer is a resounding ‘YES’. Stained glass can be put straight in the bottle bank for green glass. This is because, when it is melted down, green glass is much more tolerant of other colors being mixed in with it than clear and brown glass are.
What percentage of total waste glass can be used to make new glass depends to a large extent on how well separated the different colors of crushed glass are from one another. Machines for separating glass are becoming ever more sophisticated, but they are still not always good enough to compensate for contamination by glass of the wrong color.
As before, earthenware, ceramic and porcelain are still the most commonly-encountered foreign materials found in bottle banks. Just one earthenware bottle or ceramic cup or plate in the bottle bank can severely reduce the quality of the waste glass. These impurities need to be removed from the crushed waste glass in the treatment plant, otherwise they would make the molten glass unusable, for example by blocking the nozzles. Every year, several tonnes of stony impurities are removed from waste glass in Heidelberg.
Cups, plates and similar should be put in the construction-waste bins at the recycling yards, where they can be reused as subgrade for the foundations of roads. But there is no need to go all the way to a recycling yard just to get rid of a single broken cup. You can also put items like this in your residual waste bin.
The public often tell us that they do not know what to do with special glass types like heat-resistant glass and lead glass. These types of glass are not suitable for putting in bottle banks. Like flat glass and mirrors, they should be taken to one of our recycling yards.