The streets of New York don't glitter with gold, but they are pretty sparkly from all that recycled glass mixed in with the asphalt. Putting crushed-up glass into roadways was previously the go-to option for what to do with the stuff, since it was just about impossible to separate broken glass from the other stuff in the recycling bin in a cost-effective way.
Now, however, better sorting technologies mean recycling companies can isolate clear glass—that's the stuff you want, if you want to turn it back into bottles--through a hi-tech series of automated processes. Check it out:
I realize it would be impossible to collect old bottles, sanitize them and re-use them, as we once did with milk bottles, but I wonder what the energy costs of that would be, versus recycling.