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How to Recycle Glass


Recycled jarsUnlike most other materials, glass can be recycled without much effort. In the last five years the UK has managed to increase the amount of glass taken for recycling up to nearly 50%. However, the country still lags behind others. For instance, both the Nordic countries and Switzerland now recycle more than 90%. Usually, glass is collected as part of your normal household waste disposal – remembering to recycle jars is a simple way of improving the recycling rate in the UK.

Businesses can also help by decreasing the amount of glass they send to landfill. It’s been documented that public venues such as bars and pubs throw away more than 200,000 tons!

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How to Recycle Glass at Home

The glass recycling process begins at your home. There is a number of steps you need to take if you want to perform it properly. The procedure may seem a bit slow at first, but if you do it regularly instead of handling it all at once, you won’t even notice it. This is how to recycle glass at home:

  1. Check the guidelines at your local recycling center. Most recycling centers have the same guidelines and accept all kinds of glass containers, but check how things are yours just to be sure. Some centers don’t accept certain colours, for example. It’s a good idea to check this out before it turns you’ve wasted your time for nothing.
  2. Rinse the containers well. This is probably not going to be the deciding factor for whether a recycling center accepts your glass or not, but it’s better if the glass you want to recycle is clean. This doesn’t mean that you should scrub it spotless and squander your resources, but a quick rinse would be nice.
  3. Remove all the parts that aren’t glass. This includes labels, bottle caps, ceramics, wrappers, foil, etc. Anything that isn’t glass can ruin the whole endeavour. Some recycling centers remove the labels, but it’s a good idea to do it yourself, just to be on the safe side.
  4. Sort the glass by colour. Different types of glass contain different additives within their molecular structure, which changes the conditions in which they are processed. This is the reason you should sort them by colour.
  5. Make sure there are no foreign objects in the batch. Glass gets crushed and then fused together during the recycling process, but foreign objects that do not belong in the same container batch can cause problems because of contamination or different melting and fusing temperatures. Avoid drinking glass, glass dishes, heat-resistant glass, window glass, windshields, lightbulbs, eyeglasses, and more. The batch should contain only ordinary containers of the same type.
  6. Deposit the glass in a recycling bank or bring it to the recycling center. After you’ve done all of that, simply leave the glass in a kerbside box, bin, or a bag, deposit it in a recycling bank or bring it to your local recycling center. You’ve done your civic duty!

How Is It Recycled?

In order to be recycled, glass is crushed into small particles referred to as “cullet”. Depending on its colour, it gets processed under different conditions, but following the same basic pattern. Some of the coloured glass pieces get exported to other countries where they have better colour glass production facilities and more need of colour glass, while most of the clear glass remains within the UK. However, some recycling centers and processing plants deal with it locally and then send the cullet to glass factories here.

Once it’s there, ready and sorted, it gets fused together in furnaces at temperatures of more than 1000 degrees Celsius. The process is concluded when glass is moulded into new bottles or other products.

Did You Know?

  • Glass products can be recycled time and time again. It’s quality will never be affected.
  • Recycling six tons of container glass can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by up to one ton!
  • Making new glass products is quite energy consuming. This is because raw materials must be transported to the furnace and then heated to a high temperature. An amazing four gigajoules of energy is required to melt one ton of glass. This same amount of power would be needed to burn 300kg of wood.

The Environmental Impact – Problems and issues

Extracting raw materials for the purpose of manufacturing glass harms the environment and consumes large amounts of energy. These resources are: soda ash, sand, limestone, and additives for colour or other special treatments. Don’t forget, glass can be recycled over and over again – you can preserve non-renewable fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by doing so.


Q: Is the colour of glass important for the recycling process?

A: Regardless of the colour, all glass is recyclable. Note that you may have to separate the containers by colour if your local authority requires it.

Q: Can the shape of a bottle affect the recycling process?
A: No. Bottles are always recyclable, whatever their shape.

Q: Do businesses such as bars and restaurants recycle glass?
A: It depends on the nature of the organisation. Usually, most bars and restaurants do recycle glass.

2 Responses to How to Recycle Glass

  1. Pingback: French Lawmaker Wants Supermarkets to Donate Unsold Food Rubbish Please

  2. Shms says:

    I am excited to find your website. I need some motivation to organize my clutter. I am going to start my day 1 challenge tonight. Don’t want to speak to soon but keep the challenges coming.

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