Is borosilicate glass biodegradable? (5 reasons why it is called eco-friendly) 

The article will express the biodegradability status of borosilicate glass. Other topics covered will include: 

  • Is it biodegradable?
  • Why is it non-biodegradable despite being natural?
  • Can you recycle?
  • How can you recycle borosilicate glass?
  • Is borosilicate glass better than soda lime glass?
  • Is it eco-friendly?
  • What is the best way to dispose of it?
  • What are the reuses of borosilicate glass (bottles)?

Is borosilicate glass biodegradable?

Borosilicate glass is not biodegradable as it is made from inorganic materials (boron trioxide and silica) which can not be ingested by microbes. Borosilicate glass can be recycled as many times as liked. 

Recycling is regarded as one of the best disposal options for borosilicate glass. However, there are other creative and innovative reuses and repurpose of borosilicate glass bottles.  

Borosilicate glass is more durable and heat resistant than soda lime glass. Despite being non-biodegradable, there are various reasons why it can be called eco-friendly such as being durable and easily recyclable. 

Is borosilicate glass natural?

If we consider our case of borosilicate glass, we see that although borosilicate glass is made from natural materials, it is neither organic nor has any nutritional content for the microbes. 

Therefore, it can be said that borosilicate glass can not be processed by microbes and therefore, it is termed non-biodegradable. However, borosilicate glass may degrade. 

You need to discern the difference between degradation and biodegradation. While degradation refers to the breakdown brought by general factors such as wind, temperature, and pressure; biodegradation is very peculiarly reserved for breakdown by microbes. 

Is borosilicate glass more eco-friendly than soda lime glass?

Yes, it is considered more eco-friendly than soda lime glass. There are two types of glass that are mostly used in the consumer marketplace. One is borosilicate glass and the other is soda lime glass. 

Soda lime glass is the most commonly used glass used to make a variety of materials such as windows, bottles et cetera. This is made from silica, soda, and lime. This is where it gets its name from. 

As regards the borosilicate glass, there is the use of a material called boron trioxide. In many ways, the use of boron trioxide makes the glass more durable (and more expensive too). 

Although there is no direct reaction to the environment, there is one indirect reaction. If the glass is more durable, it will last longer and therefore, the need to either recycle or make new glass will lessen. This will reduce the environmental impact caused by the making and use of glass. 

Since borosilicate glass is way more durable (thermal school resistant) than soda lime glass, it would not be wrong to say that the former is more eco-friendly as there would be a reduced environmental impact in the case. 

Can borosilicate glass be recycled?

Yes, not only is it possible but also recommended as well. It is claimed that glass is highly recyclable. This implies that you can recycle glass as many times as you like and there would be no compromise on the quality. 

There are a number of benefits that are offered when borosilicate glass is recycled. These include: 

  • Decreased glass waste
  • Reduced energy demand 
  • Reduced carbon footprint 
  • Reduced raw materials 

It is estimated that when glass is recycled, there is a sharp cut in the energy requirements. This is mainly because the energy-intensive processes employed in glass-making are not needed.

This directly results in reduced carbon emissions. This leads to decreased emittance of greenhouse gases that lead to environmental anomalies such as global warming and unprecedented weather problems. 

It is studied that when six tons of glass is recycled, more than or about 1 ton of carbon dioxide emission is reduced. The repercussions are unimaginable. 

What do you need to be careful about while recycling borosilicate glass?

Although it is possible and recommended to recycle borosilicate glass, there are certain precautions that you need to be mindful of in order to ensure that there is no damage or harm done to the environment. 

Consider the following points: 

  • It is better to segregate different types of glass waste 
  • The glass waste must not be contaminated 
  • The glass waste must not be broken 

The reason why the segregation of glass waste is recommended is that it gets easier and the efficiency of the recycling process increases. When glass waste is segregated (different sources identified) then there is a better chance of efficient recycling. 

Also, you need to ensure and enlist that there is no contamination whatsoever. If there is any contamination, not only the entire facility will be put in danger, but the workers working there can also be affected. 

Although some recycling centres accept broken glass, many don’t. The chief reason behind this proclivity is that broken glass can: 

  • Harm the recycling facility 
  • Can injure the workers working there 

Therefore, it is best to get in touch with the recycling centres and know about all the relevant possibilities. 

How to recycle borosilicate glass?

Next, let us move to an important question which is how to recycle borosilicate glass. Regarding that, there are certain liberties that you can enjoy. These include: 

  • Contact the nearest recycling facility to schedule a pickup 
  • Drop by glass waste at the nearest collection centre or a recycling facility 
  • Better to not dispose of glass waste in trash cans

The reason why disposing of glass waste in trash cans is avoided is because the glass can break due to pressure or external conditions and this can put workers at risk of injury. 

The best thing you can do is to either drop all the borosilicate glass waste at recycling centres or gather all such waste and schedule a pick-up. The options will vary based on your location and locality. 

Can we consider borosilicate glass eco-friendly? (5 reasons) 

As it is expressed, “Do not judge a book by its cover,” the same can also be said about borosilicate glass. Since the said is non-biodegradable, it is easily assumed that borosilicate glass and glass in general are not eco-friendly. 

However, there are certain objections to this perception. The objections are edified on the following points: 

  • Glass is more durable than plastic 
  • Glass is inert 
  • Glass is more readily recyclable than plastics 
  • The glass will not release harmful chemicals when decomposed or degraded 
  • Unlike plastics, glass production does not involve petroleum products and fossil fuel derivatives 

Let us explore each of these points in slight detail:

Borosilicate glass is more durable than plastic 

While plastic (such as plastic bottles) is reserved for a limited and time use only, the case of borosilicate glass is very different. Borosilicate glass is very durable and if handled correctly, it can accompany you for a lifetime. 

Borosilicate glass is inert

This appears as a medical advantage of glass that the said material is completely inert. This means that there is no risk of residual addition in your drinks or water. This again gives another health-related, and environmental benefit to us. 

Borosilicate glass is readily recycled

Glass is listed as one of the most (readily) recycled materials and the good thing is that there is no limit to it. You can recycle glass an infinite number of times. 

However, if we compare our case with that of plastics’ we see that this is not the case. In the case of plastics, not all plastics are recyclable and the recycling efficiency and frequency are also lower. 

It is because of this that only 5-9% of plastic is recycled whereas the figure in the case of glass and borosilicate glass surges up to around 30%. 

Glass does not depend on petroleum

The production of borosilicate glass does not depend on the derivatives of fossil fuels and hence, there is no use and exploitation of non-renewable resources. 

However, in the case of plastics, there is a definite and blunt use of non-renewable resources while also there is a fervent risk of climatic anomalies. 

Borosilicate glass does not release harmful chemicals

The degradation of borosilicate glass does not release any harmful chemicals or fumes into the environment. This becomes another reason why borosilicate glass can be called eco-friendly despite being non-biodegradable. 

What is the best way to dispose of borosilicate glass? (9 creative uses for borosilicate glass) 

The best way to dispose of borosilicate glass is to recycle it because borosilicate glass can be infinitely recycled. However, you can also explore reuse and repurpose options such as: 

  • Garden decoration
  • Water planters
  • Soap dispenser 
  • Decorative purposes
  • Kiki torch 
  • Arts and crafts 
  • Spray bottles
  • Bottle lamps 

Conclusion

It is concluded that borosilicate glass is not biodegradable as it is made from inorganic materials (boron trioxide and silica) which can not be ingested by microbes. Borosilicate glass can be recycled as many times as liked. 

Recycling is regarded as one of the best disposal options for borosilicate glass. However, there are other creative and innovative reuses and repurpose of borosilicate glass bottles.  

Borosilicate glass is more durable and heat resistant than soda lime glass. Despite being non-biodegradable, there are various reasons why it can be called eco-friendly such as being durable and easily recyclable. 

References

Kablo. What Is Borosilicate Glass And Why Is It Better Than Regular Glass? Retrieved from: https://shopkablo.com/blogs/the-reformist/what-is-borosilicate-glass

Hendrik. (July 17, 2022). How Biodegradable Is Glass Really? Can We Recycle Our Way Out Of It? Retrieved from: https://www.zerowasteman.com/is-glass-biodegradeable/

(July 26, 2021). Why is Borosilicate Glass Best for Reusable Water Bottles? Retrieved from: https://www.natural-sustenance.com/why-is-borosilicate-glass-best-for-reusable-water-bottles/

Leave a Comment