Ecology

Where is porcelain recycled

Recycling is an activity that is increasingly known and implemented in many homes in order to alleviate the environmental problems that currently affect planet earth. This task is simple and involves minimal effort, the only drawback that it presents and that can hinder the treatment of waste in recycling plants is the incorrect separation of waste, either due to carelessness, ignorance or error. One of the most common mistakes are mistakes when differentiating porcelain, glass or crystal, which means that, in many cases, porcelain residues end up in the wrong container.

What is porcelain

To understand in which container porcelain is recycled in the first place, it will be necessary to know its composition. Thus, porcelain is mainly composed of a mixture of kaolin, quartz and feldspar , minerals that are found and obtained from nature.

In the manufacturing process, these three minerals are mixed with water and kneaded, then the piece is molded and fired at a temperature of 900 ° C in order to eliminate water molecules and possible organic substances. The enameling is then carried out, covering the porcelain mixture with a glassy film and finally it is fired again at a temperature of 1,400 ° C. The result of the process is to obtain a hard, translucent and fragile material known as porcelain, which is used to make tableware, lamps, vases and many other decorative elements.

Why is it not removed along with the crystal or glass?

The most common mistake due to the similarity between some of its characteristics and properties is to confuse this material with glass or crystal . Crystal is made up of silica, potassium hydroxide, and lead oxide. This last element is what differentiates it from the composition of glass, which is made up of silica, sodium carbonate and mainly limestone.

However, the main reason why these materials cannot be mixed or thrown in the same container does not lie in their composition but in that the glass is manufactured at a different temperature than that of porcelain and glass, which is why it cannot be melted in the same oven . In fact, the mixture of these three materials in the same container would complicate the production of the glass, giving rise to poor results, which is a shame given that, currently, glass is one of the materials that is fully recycled and allows savings of raw materials and energy.

In this way, while the glass is thrown into the green igloo-shaped container, the porcelain and glass (with certain exceptions) must be deposited in the container for the rest of the waste , which is usually gray. This container is used for waste that cannot be recycled, including from diapers, dirty paper, dust and compresses to ceramic and glass waste, usually from plates, glasses, glasses or light bulbs.

The treatment applied to the waste stored in this container basically consists of transporting it to authorized landfills where, although the waste is not used or given a second life, at least the degradation of organic matter is achieved, which that guarantees and enables the future restoration and recovery of the area.

The porcelain is crushed together with the rest of the waste disposed in the gray container in order to achieve a homogeneous mass and thus reduce the volume of garbage. In addition, a small size can benefit the anaerobic decomposition process because the entry of oxygen is practically impossible. On the other hand, aerobic degradation can also be applied, spreading the crushed fragments in very extensive layers.

It is necessary to mention that the disposal of garbage in landfills is the most undesirable and disrespectful method with the environment, since it has many disadvantages such as:

  • Biogas emissions .
  • Bad smells.
  • Leachate filtration.
  • Occupation of large areas of territory.
  • Visual impact.
  • Noise and noise pollution .
  • Deterioration of the spaces near the installation.
  • Proliferation of bacteria and animals typical of these places.

Therefore, when buying a product, it is preferable to choose those that are recyclable and therefore respectful with the environment.

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