Glass bottles

What are the benefits of recycling glass?

09 November 2023

In the UK, we recycle about 74% of all our glass waste – which sounds mighty impressive, until you learn that countries such as Belgium, Slovenia and Sweden all recycle upwards of 95%.

This figure includes the recycling of household glass such as glass bottles and jars, as well as glass from commercial use, such as automotive glass from windscreens and windows.

While the glass recycling infrastructure in the UK may not quite be up to scratch compared to some of our European neighbours, it's still a huge saving on both the extraction and use of raw materials.

So why is glass a great material for recycling? You'll find out that it's hugely beneficial and relatively easy to do, especially when compared to other disposable items, as well as much more.

Savings per tonne

Each tonne of glass that's recycled saves the planet from another 246kg of carbon entering the atmosphere – so when you consider that the UK hospitality sector alone sends 200,000 tonnes of glass waste to landfills every year, it's easy to see that more can be done.

Considering the huge environmental benefits, there isn't much you or your business needs to do, so it's well worth putting a glass waste disposal plan into action.

Just ensure that you have a dedicated glass recycling container easily accessible to your staff, clearly separate from general waste – it's very important to ensure that the glass is not mixed with other substances such as metal and plastic as this reduces the glass quality and lessens the impact of those carbon gains.

This means that if recycling glass from a vehicle, you will need to remove it from any frame before putting it in the glass recycling bin.

Quality Retention

Out of all the materials we recycle, glass is the best for retaining its original quality once the process is complete. It's an extremely malleable material that can be melted down, repoured and reshaped into essentially anything else – making it a fantastic candidate for cutting down on raw material mining, and replacing plastic items wherever possible.

Plastic recycling processes are far more complicated, with extensive sorting required to obtain the material needed. With glass, no matter where it came from, once it arrives at the treatment plant it's a case of spraying off excess waste such as paper and plastic, a little sorting and then on to re-processing plants to remould.

Greener Manufacturing

At all stages of the manufacturing process, recycling glass is greener when compared to the process of extracting and manufacturing raw materials.

Mining the main ingredient in glass, sand, is a prolific industry with a huge carbon footprint and environmental impact, with quarries leaving large scars on natural landscapes and destroying the natural habitat of the local flora and fauna.

Sand is the second most traded natural resource in the world after water, so reducing our consumption means there is more for those who are in short supply, and cuts down on destructive mining.

All in all, recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to power a TV for one and a half hours. Think how much energy could be saved if we recycled every windscreen from every scrapped car, or every glass bottle disposed of by a restaurant.

Choose W&S Recycling for your local and professional glass recycling service

Live in an area with no glass collection? Then we'd be happy to help. Drop your glass at any of our recycling centres in the South and we'll ensure your glass waste is responsibly recycled.

We also provide commercial glass collection services, so if you are pressed for time, we can collect your glass recycling from your business.



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