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Central American Countries Actively Promote Glass Recycling

tempered glass

In 2021, more than 122,000 tons of glass were recycled in Central America and the Caribbean, an increase of about 4,000 tons from 2020, equivalent to 345 million glass containers, and the fifth consecutive year of recycling more than 100,000 tons per year, according to a recent report by the Central American Glass Group, a Costa Rican glass manufacturer, marketer and recycler.

Since the launch of a program called “Green e-Money” in 2018, Costa Ricans have become more environmentally aware and actively participate in glass recycling. Currently, there are over 200 collection centers in Costa Rica that manage the separation and sale of recyclable waste and provide glass recycling services.

According to the statistics, glass bottles entering the market in some regions of Central America in 2021 had recycling rates as high as 90%. Other countries launched the “old glass for new glass” activity, where residents can exchange 5 pounds (about 2.27 kg) of glass materials for a new glass. People actively participated in the activity, and the effect was very obvious. Some local environmentalists point out that recycling glass can encourage people to adopt environmentally friendly and sustainable consumption habits.

Glass is a widely used material, because of its physical and chemical properties, glass materials can be used indefinitely repeated melting. In order to promote the sustainable development of the global glass industry, 2022 has been officially approved by the plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly as the United Nations International Year of Glass. Anna Kim, an environmental protection expert in Costa Rica, said glass recycling could contribute to the fight against climate change by reducing the digging of glass raw materials, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and soil erosion. A glass bottle can be reused 40 to 60 times, she said, thus eliminating the need for at least 40 disposable bottles of other materials, reducing pollution from single-use containers by as much as 97 percent.

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