A storm in a cup of tea? The not-so-trivial question of recycling ceramics
Look under your favorite coffee mug. What do you see? You see the name of the company that made it. What don’t you see there? You don’t see the universal recycling symbol (?). You don’t see the recycling symbol on the underside of ceramic cookware because it isn’t there.
There are a number of different types of ceramics that are used in the manufacture of kitchen wares today, and almost all of them are potentially recyclable.
Until the 20th century, all ceramics in the world were made from clay. Today, the ceramic cups, plates, pitchers, and bowls you find in your kitchen are made of both ceramics made from clay and ceramics made from other base materials. Ceramics made from clay as well as most ceramics made from other materials are potentially recyclable.
Unlike the plastics I talked about in an article in March 13and2017 edition of The Pavlovic today, most ceramics are relatively harmless when they end up in landfills. The inner layer of ceramic ware is made from fired clay or other materials that have been heated to high temperatures, and the outer layers of ceramic cookware contain glazes and dyes that create the designs, decorations, patterns and logos that we love to see on our plates, mugs, pitchers, jars, etc.
All dyes used in the manufacture of cookware have been approved for use in kitchen products by the relevant regulatory bodies in the countries in which these items are manufactured, so all dyes and dyes that we see on our plates, pitchers and cups are non-toxic. Because ceramic cookware is made entirely from non-toxic materials, ceramic cookware does not release chemicals into the soil as it breaks into smaller fragments over time, and like ceramic is generally harmless in the dumps, people rarely attempt to offer to discuss the possibility. to recycle them.
The ceramic process recycling
Archaeologists have found pottery and pottery fragments made from fired clay at archaeological sites around the world for centuries. The first pots, vases and amphorae were made from heated clay. It is likely that when these objects broke, people reused the fragments for other purposes.
The difference between ancient ceramics and modern ceramics is that ancient ceramics were made from fired clay with very few other ingredients added. Modern earthenware, stoneware, porcelain and porcelain are made from fired clay with a few other chemicals added. Modern ceramics are coated with a wide variety of glazes, most of which contain a wide assortment of chemicals.
The recycling process for ceramics made from clay is somewhat comparable to the recycling process for bricks, except that not all bricks have a glazed outer layer like ceramics do. As I mentioned, while the exterior glaze layers of ceramic ware are not always recyclable, the interior layers usually are.
If politicians and candidates running for office study this problem, they will recognize the reasons why this problem is important and they will probably want to allocate the necessary funds to allow ceramic recycling facilities.
People are less likely to want to recycle items made from the more expensive types of ceramics such as china and porcelain, because when these items are damaged they are still valuable and most people will choose to repair items that have value or sell. if they no longer want to keep them, but if ceramics are included in household recycling programs at some point in the future, porcelain and porcelain are also recyclable materials.
The recycling process for porcelain and porcelain will be very similar to the recycling process for the cheapest types of ceramics.
Why isn’t the ceramic in kitchen utensils currently being recycled?
The ceramic recycling process is expensive and time-consuming because it involves several steps.
The technologies for this are not really new and have been well understood for several decades now. However, the process is very expensive, which is why there are only a small handful of recycling facilities that recycle ceramic cookware in most countries.
I propose that governments around the world consider including ceramic items such as common kitchen utensils in household recycling. We have to think about the cumulative tons of ceramic cookware that is sent to landfills around the world every year.
If politicians and candidates running for office study this issue, I think they will recognize the reasons why this issue is important, and they will probably want to allocate the funds that will be necessary to allow recycling facilities to develop and which will make it profitable to open new recycling facilities.
How to recycle ceramic?
The reason most recycling companies do not attempt to recycle ceramic cookware is that recycling ceramic cookware will only become profitable if it can be done on a large scale.
The ceramic recycling process is expensive and time consuming.
Agencies responsible for administering municipal recycling should contract with companies that recycle ceramics. Ceramic items that people would place in their household recycling bins would be sorted along with glass, metals, paper, cardboard and plastics at transfer stations, then the ceramic items would be sent to companies specializing in recycling. recycling of ceramics. This could be accomplished either by allocating funds so that companies that recycle ceramics from demolition waste such as toilets, sinks and bathtubs can expand their facilities so that they can also process ceramic kitchenware , or new companies that specialize specifically in the recycling of ceramics from demolition waste. kitchen utensils can open.
What can be done?
Virtually no government agency in any country that I know of allocates funds for research on this issue.
Although it is not very difficult to notice that species of plants and animals are endangered and some species are disappearing, and that the air and water around the world are dangerously polluted with chemicals toxic, it is not so obvious that clay, metals and minerals that are also used as base materials in ceramics are all finite resources.
We must ensure that all materials that can be recycled will be.
The danger is not necessarily that the world’s clay supply will one day be entirely depleted, but rather that companies extracting clay will disturb the banks of rivers and lakes that could be left alone and designated as protected parks by the process to extract it. If more items made from ceramics are recycled, less clay will need to be mined from the banks and beds of water bodies around the world, and therefore less land will need to be disturbed. This is becoming increasingly important now, if governments around the world cannot set aside more land as national parks and national forests then we will continue to see more habitat loss and the loss of more species .
Recycling ceramics will not result in any job loss for anyone. There will still be a lot of demand for clay for other uses. Existing sites where companies extract clay will remain operational. This will reduce the number of new sites that will need to be used for clay mining in future years. Ceramic recycling would actually create jobs as it would create new recycling facilities and expand existing recycling businesses around the world.
This will never be proposed, approved or implemented unless politicians and candidates running for office become aware of this problem. If you think this issue is important to you, discuss it with politicians and with candidates running for office.
Recycling ceramics will not result in any job loss for anyone.
The environmental movement started in the 1920s. Before the start of the environmental movement, hardly anyone in the world thought about habitat loss, endangered species, overfishing, deforestation, water pollution or air. People are now paying much more attention to all these issues, and we now understand how much the world’s ecosystems depend on each other. Without healthy substrate plants cannot grow, and without plant biodiversity we will lose more species of animals and we also need plant biodiversity for clean air.
The only way to preserve the world’s remaining ecosystems is to create conditions that will allow world governments to set aside more land for wildlife refuges, nature centers and parks. We need to ensure that all materials that can be recycled are, and while in recent years in many countries people have paid increasing attention to the recycling of items made from metals, glass, cardboard, of paper and plastic, recycling ceramic cookware is still largely ignored.