Strategic Materials is one of the world’s largest glass recylcers. Cullet from the plant is used by bottle and fiberglass manufacturers, thus cutting their costs, since recycled glass requires must less energy (heat) to use.
US Strategic Materials, based in Houston, Texas, which started over 100 years ago recycling plate glass from manufactures, recycles more glass than any company in the world.
However, since single-stream recycling came on line, the company has had to reinvent the way it recycles glass. It is bought by the ton from municipalities and goes through several sorting processes to remove dirt, paper and plastic.
It is then transferred to Strategic Materials’ super-secret sorting building where a series of optical sorters and other techniques separates the glass out by colour.
The resulting cullet is bought by bottling plants and fiberglass manufactures, who include a portion of recycled glass into their production to cut costs, as recycled glass requires must less energy (heat) to use.
The biggest single source customer of Strategic Materials is the Owens Corning fiberglass insulation plant in Waxahachie, only about 10 miles away. The cullet is used to produce insulation that is made up of almost 50% recycled glass.
However, only 12% of the glass thrown out in Texas ends up being recycled, while in states where consumers get a refund for returned bottles the recovery rate is 85%.