How to recycle glass correctly –

Most types of glass can be recycled endlessly without losing purity or quality, but there are some varieties that shouldn’t be thrown in the trash and few of us know that.

Here, we look at the different types of glass, how to recycle them, which glass products are not recyclable, and the many benefits of giving old glass a new lease of life.

glass recycling

One of the main benefits of recycling glass is the low amount of energy required to melt it for a new purpose. Glass is made from materials such as sand, soda ash, limestone and cullet (fired-ready recycled glass).

Recycled glass is always included in new glass products. According to the Glass Packaging Institute, recycled glass can replace up to 95% of raw materials, which can significantly reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste.

In 2018, 25% (or 3,060,000 tons) of glass containers/packaging waste produced were recycled, according to Environmental Protection Agency data. 1 If a glass bottle is not recycled, it is estimated that it will take 1 million years to decompose naturally.

There are certain glass products that cannot be recycled or must go to a special recycling plant, so it is important to know what can and cannot go through conventional glass recycling.

How is glass recycled?

In some municipalities, people are required to separate glass recycling, while others are allowed to put it all together and then separate paper, plastic and glass. Either way, when recyclables arrive at a materials recovery facility, whether through curbside pickup or a recycling disposal site, they are sorted to separate the trash by material type.

Any glass scheduled for recycling is sent to a glass processing plant, where it is sorted. Glass processing companies use color classification to group glass into clear, green, or amber categories. Mixing colors while the glass is melting can compromise the structure of the finished product, which is why color grading is so important.

The sorted glass then passes the benefit to remove any contamination such as bottle tops, labels or metal. The glass is then crushed and melted in an oven at a temperature of 2,600 to 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit. two

Once melted, the glass can be poured and shaped into new bottles, jars, containers, etc. It is estimated that 80% of recycled glass is reused in new glass products.

There are 49 glass factories and 80 recycled glass processors in the United States participating in this process which results in reduced carbon emissions, raw material consumption, energy costs and waste.

How to better recycle glass

Make the glass recycling process easier by following these simple steps while the glass is still in your home:

  • Rinse your bottles, jars and glassware so they are free of most food residue and labels.
  • Remove plastic or metal lids from glass jars and bottles.
  • Do not intentionally break your glass.
  • Dispose of broken glass with regular waste.

What types of glass can be recycled?

The food and beverage industry accounts for most of the glass that ends up in glass recycling plants (about 18%). two

Clear glass used in containers, bottles and jars can be recycled. This glass is usually made from soda lime, the most common form of glass used.

According to Stanford University, glass accounts for 5% of waste in the US and the payoff from recycling glass is significant in terms of decreased use of new resources; one ton of recycled glass can save 1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda, 433 pounds of limestone and 151 pounds of feldspar when creating new glass. 3

Others types of glass include borosilicate, which is at least 5% boric oxide and has high temperature resistance, aluminosilicate, which includes aluminum oxide and has high chemical durability, 96% silica glass, a borosilicate glass that is processed to remove most non-silicate ingredients and fused silica glass, which contains pure silicon dioxide and is the most expensive glass.

Make money with your recycling

Glass recycling has become such a huge industry that the amount of recycled glass does not meet the demand for new glass produced. Some states have tried to address this situation in hopes of encouraging glass production over plastic by offering monetary incentives for glass.

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For example, California has a redemption program where you can get five cents off most glass bottles, as well as plastic bottles and aluminum cans under 24 ounces. For items over 24 ounces you can earn 10 cents each.

glass that cannot be recycled

While recycling glass is very energy efficient, the glass must be sorted using a dithering process to remove contaminants. Different types and colors of glass have different melting points, so not all “glass” materials can be recycled through conventional curbside collection glass recycling processing.

Glass products such as windows, ovenproof dishes, Pyrex and mirrors are made differently than glass bottles and jars made from recycled glass, so they cannot be recycled with standard clear bottles and jars. Frosted glass, sheet metal, glass, Pyrex, mirrors and ceramic items are considered pollutants and result in the disposal of a full glass recycling load. 3

Bulbs cannot be recycled through your curbside service. In fact, some of them are considered hazardous waste. Local recycling programs and consumer stores that sell products such as light bulbs, windows, etc. They may offer recycling collections. For example, lowe’s In its stores, it has waste bins for incandescent light bulbs, batteries and plastic bags.

Pyrex, which has been specially treated to withstand higher temperatures, makes it incompatible with scrap shell and cannot be recycled. According to the Pyrex website, there is currently no recycling process for broken or chipped Pyrex, and they recommend that customers dispose of it with their regular trash. However, Treehugger encourages you to reuse your chipped Pyrex for a new purpose (see below).

Windows, including stained glass, laminated or tempered glass, have a different chemical makeup than standard glass bottles and jars. If your windows are still in good shape, try donating them to non-profit organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Special recycling plants can also reuse window glass into asphalt or fiberglass.

Glass can usually be recycled by the company that made it. The service organization from the lions club She is known for collecting old eyeglasses and reclaiming them for communities and people who cannot afford or do not have access to vision care. They collect prescription glasses and sunglasses.

Ceramic tiles and other products cannot be recycled at most recycling plants; however, some companies that deal with brick and concrete recycling may accept ceramic items.

Thanks to recent technology, windshield glass (made with laminated glass) can be recycled, but not directly in conventional processing plants. Many automotive glass manufacturers have agreements with special laminate recyclers to process automotive glass.

Any of the acceptable hull glass that does not meet manufacturing standards not wasted . It is reused in tile, filtration, sandblasting, concrete and landscaping.

However, any broken glass will be sorted with the regular rubbish and sent to the landfill as it is dangerous for workers.

Ways to reuse glass

Items like empty glass bottles, jars, and containers are durable materials to use for DIY projects, crafts, storage, gardening, decorations, and more. Some ideas include:


Water sources. Glass bottles filled with water, turned upside down and inserted into the soil can release water slowly.

Decorate your garden. Cover the beds with bottles or create a broken glass mosaic to incorporate into a garden path or hang in a conservatory.

Seedling starter. Lidless jars can be used to start seedlings for a vegetable or flower garden. Why go out and buy seedling pots when you can repurpose items you already have?

food storage

Empty jars of jam, sauce, peanut butter, honey, etc. They can be perfect reusable food storage containers. Reusing these items can also help you reduce your use of single-use plastics for food storage.

Empty jars can also be used to store everyday items like paper clips, thumbtacks, nails, craft supplies, etc.


Glass items like wine, beer and milk bottles can make beautiful centerpieces, vases or lamps. Use paint and string to further customize your decor.

art projects

Glass can take a DIY art project to the next level. With a little creativity, a simple glass bottle or jar can become your new Christmas decoration, candle, centerpiece, maracas or even toys.


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