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Everything you always wanted to know about glass recycling

Wondering how is glass recycled? You’ve come to the right place! Learn everything about the uses of glass and tips on how to recycle glass at home.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

glass bottles in a basket with other recycling materials

Key steps

  • Glass can be recycled and reused over 100 times without losing its purity.

  • Local collections take used glass to a recycling plant where it is cleaned, separated into colours, crushed, and melted before being reused.

  • You can recycle glass at home too – turn jars into cups by adding lids, use clean glass bottles as a makeshift rolling pin, or turn glass pots into handy storage containers.

Glass is a sturdy product we all use at home but what happens to it when it’s no longer being used? Glass recycling is widely available, so you don’t have to throw used glass away … if you know how to recycle glass at homethat is. And that’s where this guide can help.

Once you've decided on some upcycling uses of glass, be sure to full clean them with Jif cream cleaner. Just because it's recycled doesn't mean it has to be shabby!

Is glass recyclable? Recycling glass facts

Before we look at the how, let’s consider the what and why with a few important recycling glass factsand FAQs everyone should know:

  • Is glass recyclable?Yes! Most types of glass are recyclable although certain colours are easier than others and broken glass isn’t always accepted due to the safety risk it poses to workers who collect household recycling. Check your local area to be sure.

  • How many times can glass be recycled? Glass falls into a “closed-loop” recycling cycle which means it can be recycled and reused to the end of its life. 

  • Is recycled glass as good as new glass? Glass can be recycled over 100 times before it loses its purity. This means there is little difference between the look and performance of recycled and new glass.

  • How eco-friendly is recycled glass?Recycling helps protect the environment by using fewer raw materials and less energy. This produces less carbon emissions and thus has a smaller carbon footprint than creating new products.

  • What are the main uses of glassthat’s been recycled? There are many different options, but recycled glass is commonly repurposed into new bottles, jars, and containers. It can even be used in construction and to make countertops, for example.

How is glass recycled? 5 simple steps

Now we’ve answered questions like “can glass be recycled” it’s time to look at the how. We’ve split the process into 5 simple steps:

  1. Used glass is collected and taken to a recycling plant. This may be via home collections or from larger recycling areas where you deposit your household waste.

  2. Other materials are removed and the glass is cleaned.The glass is checked for large bits of plastic, ceramic, brick, or other material before being cleaned.

  3. It is sorted into colours. Glass comes in many colours from clear to green, amber, and even brown. Each colour has a different chemical composition which means they must be separated and recycled by colour.

  4. The glass is crushed and melted. The smaller size of crushed glass is easier to melt.

  5. A new product is made. The melted glass can be used to form new bottles, jars, or construction equipment depending on its quality and colour. These products are then distributed to businesses.

Always take care when trying out glass recycling at homeas broken glass can hurt you.

Can you recycle glassat home?

Although commercial glass recycling is widespread across the country, there are ways to try glass recycling at homeand reduce the waste you produce by reusing your old glass products. 

In fact, home recycling for glass is so easy that you may already have done it – either by putting flowers in used glass bottles for a romantic dinner or reusing old jars as storage pots. Here are a few other ideas you might want to try:

  • Recycle glass jars as cups.All you need is a trendy screw top lid and a clean glass jar. Make a hole in the centre of the lid (big enough for a reusable straw), sand down any rough edges before use. Make sure you sterilise the jar before first use. 

  • Use glass bottles as a rolling pin. Lost your rolling pin? An old wine bottle is a great alternative. Remove the label, give it a very good scrub, and get rolling.

  • Turn old glass jars into perfect home storage solutions. Use them to hold anything from pencils and pens to cooking utensils. 

  • Fill glass jars with inspirational notes or trinkets for something special. Not a fan of inspirational notes? Try quotes from friends, treats for when chores are complete, or daily tasks instead.

Originally published