Glass recycling, or glass reprocessing, is the process of turning waste glass back into usable products. This involves washing, crushing and melting used glass before moulding it back into bottles and jars. This cycle can be repeated endlessly with no loss in quality to the end product.
Glass manufacturers in the UK recycle almost 70% of all glass packaging sold, the majority of this figure is made up of glass bottle recycling.
How is glass recycled?
All glass collected separately is brought back to our state of the art Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) for storage. This is then bulked up and transported to a glass treatment plant.
The glass goes through a pre-treatment process which removes any paper or plastic using blown air. Any metal objects are removed with magnets.
Next, it is sorted by colour and washed to remove any further impurities.
Then it’s crushed, melted and moulded into new products such as bottles and jars. A highly versatile material with almost limitless applications; it makes complete sense to recover as much glass as practically possible.
Glass does not degrade through the recycling process so it can be recycled again and again.
This is one of the most efficient forms of recycling of any type of commercial waste, with almost 100% recovery of the original material in an extremely clean and pure form, with fantastic environmental benefits.
Glass that can be recycled:
Bottles and jars are 100% recyclable, and can be recycled again and again, without any loss of quality, but there are other types of glass products which are manufactured through a different process, and can cause problems if they’re put into the recycling process. These are listed here below.
Glass that can’t be recycled:
Light bulbs, windows, mirrors, plate glass, eyeglasses, glass art, Pyrex baking dishes, fluorescent lighting tubes, broken glass, drinking glasses, crystal glass.
How much glass is recycled in the UK?
At the moment we are managing to recycle about 70% of all the glass packaging produced. However, countries like Belgium, Slovenia and Sweden are already recycling 95% of their waste glass. Despite all the great progress being made, there is clearly much more that could be done.
For example, while most people remember to recycle glass bottles at home, fewer people remember to recycle glass containers for pasta sauces and jam jars. Furthermore, businesses like hotels, bars and restaurants in the hospitality sector dispose of over 200,000 tons of glass into landfill each year.
It is really important for businesses that have large volumes of glass waste to implement a proper glass waste disposal plan to minimise the environmental impact of their business. Every tonne of re-melted glass saves 246 kg of carbon dioxide emissions.
So the first step is to have a separate glass recycling container on your premises. It is really important to separate waste glass from other waste materials because this prevents contamination and ensures the maximum quantity of glass can be recycled.
It is also important to separate waste glass by colour as it allows the industry to maintain quality standards.