How a Used Bottle Becomes a New Bottle Again

By Casey Chan on at

Recycling! It's good for the planet, or something. It's also a very sensible thing to do. But how does the bottle you just drank out of become a new bottle you'll drink out of in the future? No, it's not just refilling the glass. It's a process that involves magnets, soda ash, a 2,700 degree furnace, something called gobs and more.

The awesome NPR blog Planet Money has summarised the glass recycling process into 6 magnificent GIFs. It starts with sorting mountain-sized piles of broken glass with a bunch of crap inside with magnets (to pull out metal) and optical sorting machines (to blow out the valuable clear glass). Then soda ash, sand and limestone are mixed with the clear glass and melted at 1,500 degrees, that burning orange mixture eventually becomes the bottle. See the whole process here. And here's a GIF to whet your appetite: