Dispose of glass

Last updated: 12 March 2021

Why recycle glass?

Recycling one glass bottle can save enough energy to power a television set for one and a half hours. Glass is an impressive material, which can be recycled endlessly with no loss in quality or purity. The amount of energy needed to melt recycled glass is considerably less than that needed to melt raw materials to make new bottles and jars.

Recycle your household glass to:

  • save energy
  • reduce landfill
  • reduce CO2 emissions
  • conserve raw materials.

Reduce your household glass waste

Reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce the amount of glass you need to recycle:

  • Minimise the amount of glass food packaging that you purchase
  • Reuse glass jars for storage and glassware
  • Get creative! Use glass jars and bottles as citronella lanterns, bird-feeders, pot plants and so on.

Glass you can put in your kerbside recycling bin

  • glass bottles
  • glass jars
  • broken bottles.

Don't forget to:

  • Separate glass containers from lids that are made of plastic or metal, but no need to remove paper labels.
  • Ensure bottles and jars are empty
  • Rinse jars and empty bottles. To conserve water, wash bottles and jars in used dishwater or in a bucket with other recyclables. They don't need to be spotless, simply rinsed.

Glass you can't put in your kerbside recycling bin

Some glass cannot be recycled via your kerbside recycling bin, because the glass is toughened and melts at a higher temperature than normal glass bottles and jars.

  • broken glass (unless it's broken bottles)
  • ceramics such as pyrex
  • china
  • corning ware
  • drinking glasses
  • light globes
  • medical or laboratory glass
  • mirrors
  • oven-proof glass
  • plate glass (window panes and windscreens)
  • white opaque bottles.

Just 5 grams of glass from drinking glassware is enough to contaminate an entire ton of recyclable glass, so it is important to get your glass recycling right.

What happens to recycled glass?

Once your glass has been collected it is taken to a glass treatment plant. The glass is sorted by colour and washed to remove any impurities.

The glass is then crushed and melted, then moulded into new products such as bottles, jars and fibreglass. It may also be used for alternative purposes such as brick manufacture or decorative purposes. The glass is sent back to the shops ready to be used again.

Glass does not degrade through the recycling process, so it can be recycled again and again.