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A recent report by Costa Rican glass manufacturing, marketing, and recycler Central American Glass Group shows that in 2021, more than 122,000 tons of glass will be recycled in Central America and the Caribbean, an increase of about 4,000 tons compared with 2020, equivalent to 345 million glass containers. Recycling, the average annual recycling of glass has exceeded 100,000 tons for 5 consecutive years.

Costa Rica is a country in Central America that has done a better job of promoting glass recycling. Since the launch of a program called "Green Electronic Currency" in 2018, the environmental awareness of the Costa Rican people has been further enhanced, and they have actively participated in glass recycling. According to the plan, after the participant's register, they can send the recycled waste, including pieces of glass, to any of the 36 authorized collection centers across the country, and then they can obtain the corresponding green electronic currency, and use the electronic currency to exchange corresponding products, services, etc. . Since the program was implemented, more than 17,000 registered users and more than 100 partner companies that offer discounts and promotions have participated. Currently, there are more than 200 collection centers in Costa Rica that manage the sorting and sale of recyclable waste and offer glass recycling services.

Relevant data show that the recovery rate of flat glass and primarily processed glass entering the market in some regions of Central America in 2021 is as high as 90%. To further promote glass recovery and recycling, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and other countries have successively organized various educational and motivational activities to show the public the many benefits of recycling glass materials. Some countries have launched the "Old Glass for New Glass" campaign, where residents can receive a new glass for every 5 pounds (about 2.27 kg) of glass materials they hand in. The public actively participated and the effect was remarkable. Local environmentalists believe that glass is an advantageous packaging alternative, and the full recycling of glass products can encourage people to develop the habit of paying attention to environmental protection and sustainable consumption.

Figure 1 The door and window glass recycling

Figure 1 The door and window glass recycling

Glass is a widely used material. Due to its physical and chemical properties, glass materials can be repeatedly melted and used indefinitely. To promote the sustainable development of the global glass industry, 2022 has been designated as the United Nations International Year of Glass with the official approval of the plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly. Costa Rica environmental protection expert Anna King said that glass recycling can reduce the excavation of glass raw materials, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and soil erosion, and contribute to combating climate change. She said that a large-format architectural glass can be reused many times, so it can reduce the use of at least multiple single-use bottled products of other materials, thereby reducing the pollution of single-use containers by as much as 97%. "The energy saved by recycling a single piece of architectural glass can light a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours. Glass recycling will drive sustainability," says Anna King.


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