Glass How are beer bottles made

How does it work? How broken pieces become bottles

Glass recycling is an environmentally friendly process, but only makes sense if it follows precise procedures. If, for example, only a small handle of a porcelain espresso cup is added, the entire glass production can be paralyzed. Stained glass that has been incorrectly thrown into the container for white glass can also stop white glass production. The entire glass then has to be melted down again.

Foreign substances disrupt the process

This is where the recycling process begins: at the old glass igloos. White and stained glass are collected separately. What doesn't belong in the bins: garbage and ceramics.

2,000 bottles are produced in the glassworks in Nienburg: every minute! A bottle nowadays consists of up to 90 percent waste glass, which is collected in so-called glass igloos on the roadside. If there are only 20 grams of foreign matter in a ton of glass, the entire batch has to be cleaned again. A machine sucks millimeter-sized foreign objects out of the glass piles. This happens in nanoseconds, invisible to the human eye. Only a special camera reveals the processes.

Sweaty work at the glass furnace

A machine forms 400 bottles per minute from drops of 1,200 degrees Celsius. Machine operator Christian Handelsmann controls the cast iron molds.

Shards, sand and a secret mix of other materials are finally melted in large tanks at 1600 degrees in the glassworks. The workers at the glass oven sweat at almost 50 degrees room temperature. That's why they have to drink at least two liters of water a day, the employer insists.

The report from the series "How does it work?" explains how new bottles are made from sand and broken glass and gives an insight into the most successful cycle since recycling began.