How Glass Is Recycled

We all know glass is 100% recyclable, but it can be endlessly recycled without any loss in quality or purity in the glass! This is something that few packaging’s companies can offer.  Recycling starts when the consumer throws glass into a recycle bin, the glass is then taken to a glass treatment plant. The glass is sorted by colour and washed to remove any impurities, it is then crushed and melted, and moulded into new products such as wine bottle, glass awards and even for computer screens!

The most popular and environmentally favourable approach is to glass recycling is to re-melt it to produce more bottles and jars – it’s one of the most common items we use in the UK. For every 1,000 tonnes of recycled glass that is used in this ways saves over 345,000 kWh of energy!

To put simply, the energy saved from recycling one bottle will power a 100 watt light bulb for almost an hour or a computer for 20 minutes! In 2008, the UK were proud to say that they alone recycled 1,650,000 tonnes of used bottles and jars.

How Glass Is Recycled

Here are Some Glass Recycling Facts:

  • Glass has over 5,000 years of experience – archaeologists have found evidence of man-made glass dating back to 4,000BC in the form of coatings on stone beads! From around 1,500 BC the Egyptians made the first glass bottles in a form we would recognise today.
  • Recycling – it saves so much energy! By using recycled means that less energy will need be used if raw materials were present.  You could rack up your energy saving from just recycling one bottle! The power will provide you with:

–          25 minutes on the computer

–          20 minutes with the television on

–          10 minutes on a washing load

  • The statistics show that every household in the UK uses on average 331 bottles and jars each year, but if the average household recycled all their glass, enough energy would be saved to power one these:

–          Running the computer for 5 days

–          Watching a television for nearly 4.5 days – to put that into perspective that’s over 210 episodes of EastEnders!

–          You could run your washing machine for 2.5 days (I mean if you wanted too!)

  • Recycling your glass saves raw materials from being quarried and then thrown away in rubbish dumps as used bottles and jars.  This saves hundreds of thousands of tonnes of quarrying each year and conserves the countryside for everyone – to make a tonne of glass it takes 1.2 tonnes of raw materials, but only 1 tonne of cullet, and when you realise how much we rely on glass, this amount could make a significant difference.
  • Every time a tonne of new bottles and jars are made using recycled glass rather than raw materials, it prevents the emission of 0.67 tonnes of CO 2 into the atmosphere causing harmful gases and damaging our Ozone layer – think reduce, reuse, recycle!
  • Cutting costs – every time waste is sent to a landfill site for disposal, local authorities must pay for each tonne that is delivered, however recycling glass means that it won’t get sent to a landfill site and therefore reducing the amount of money your local authorities’ are paying! Think of all the pot-holes this could pay to fill in!
  • Everyone can help the environment by recycling their glass, as you can tell now, even a small change in behaviour has a measurable benefit, and image if your whole family started recycling and then your street started it too and soon your village – can you see the effect starting to snowball?