Posts Tagged ‘glass recycling’

Why is it important to separate coloured glass for recycling?

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In the recycling process, colour is very important. Clear glass is usually recycled back into new clear glass, and coloured glass is recycled back into new coloured glass. The process of splitting mixed glass adds additional time and cost, which is why it is more efficient to sort the glass before the recycling process begins to ensure better quality of the new glass products.


This is why we were very happy to hear that Southampton council has  recently started to separate recycling collections for glass. This means more glass will end up being recycled as a result, saving money and energy too.


As fellow glass-lovers know, glass is one of the most sustainable packaging materials available. Made from just three natural ingredients: sand, limestone and soda ash, it remains 100-percent recyclable for life.


Friends of Glass hopes that more and more cities in the UK will follow Southampton’s excellent example, ensuring higher rates for glass recycling. All in all, a great result for glass and an even better one for the environment!


May your Christmas be Merry and ‘Green’!

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With the festive season just around the corner, many will be stocking up their shelves with sweet treats, delicious drinks and other holiday essentials. It’s one of the most exciting times in the year when families and friends sit down together for a lovely meal and exchange carefully picked presents.


However, Christmas time is also one of the most wasteful occasions, as we produce 30 per cent more rubbish than usual*. That’s why Friends of Glass would like to remind you to recycle the cranberry and horseradish sauce jars you were passing around the table, and put all those wine and beer bottles in the recycling box or take them to bottle bank.



Here are some quick tips from us, for perfect glass recycling this Christmas.


  1. Glass containers such as bottles and jars should be cleaned before recycling.
  2. Remember that you can also recycle the aluminium screw tops along with their glass bottles. Simply screw the top back on the empty bottle before recycling.
  3. Check if your local council sorts your glass into separate compartments on the recycling truck next time it collects from your doorstep. If it doesn’t, do take your empty bottles and jars to the nearest bottle bank as this helps ensure the highest quality recycled glass is obtained.
  4.  You can find your nearest glass bank at – just type in your postcode (UK only). Why not plan a visit to your local recycling point in to your family’s post-Christmas meal walk? You can burn off those festive treats whilst doing some good for the environment!
  5. When using bottle banks, put the glass in the correct bank for clear, green or brown glass (blue glass goes in with green glass). A small effort which in the end reduces CO2 emissions and ensures the maximum amount of glass gets recycled.


Did you know?  The jar or bottle you put in the bottle bank could be back on the shelf within 70 days!


Happy Recycling :)



Glass Packaging Recycling Facts

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There is no doubt that glass is one of the most useful materials on the planet, and has remained so since its invention over 5000 years ago. As we continue to move towards becoming a more sustainable society, glass packaging has become an ever more valuable resource as it can be recovered and recycled over and over again without losing quality.


Here at Friends of Glass we’ve put together some interesting facts to show why every glass jar and bottle should be recycled and what a big difference it can make to the environment:


1. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled an infinite number of times without loss of quality, strength and functionality.


2. Making new glass from recycled glass uses much less energy than using raw materials.  The energy saving from recycling just one bottle will power: a computer for 25 minutes, a colour TV for 20 minutes or a washing machine for 10 minutes.


3. Every household in the UK uses on average 331 bottles and jars each year.  If the average household recycled all their glass, enough energy would be saved to power your TV while watching  210 episodes of Coronation Street.


4. The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will operate a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.


5. Recycling your glass saves valuable raw materials from being quarried and then thrown away in rubbish dumps.


6. In the UK, recycling saves about 10-15 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year, which is the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off the road.


We believe that everyone can help the environment by recycling their glass, why not start today and make sure to recycle all your glass jar and bottles :)


For more information about glass recycling visit and



What is recycling?

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At Friends of Glass, we love recycling and know that our followers do too – but what does it actually mean and why do we do it? Here’s what everybody should know – recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction. When we recycle, used materials are converted into new products, reducing the need to consume natural resources. As a result, the amount of rubbish sent to landfill sites reduces.  If used materials are not recycled, new products are made by extracting fresh, raw material from the Earth, through mining and forestry.


As an example, glass packaging is 100% recyclable and can be recycled an infinite number of times without loss of quality. Did you know it takes 1.2 tonnes of raw materials but only 1 tonne of cullet* to make a tonne of glass?


Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process also uses considerably less energy than that required for producing new products from raw materials. Even when comparing all associated costs including transport, etc., the energy saving from recycling just one bottle would power a computer for 25 minutes or a washing machine for 10 minutes. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?


Everyone can help the environment and waste reduction by recycling their glass jars and bottles. Why not start making the difference today?  Recycling doesn’t have to be hard either! Check if your local council sorts your glass into separate compartments on the recycling truck next time it collects from your doorstep. If it doesn’t, do take your empty bottles and jars to the nearest bottle bank as this helps ensure the highest quality recycled glass is obtained. You can find your nearest glass bank on by simply typing in your postcode (UK only).



More info about glass recycling visit:

*Cullet – recycled broken or waste glass used in glass making.

How innovation in glass manufacturing is turning green even greener

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When you pick up a glass bottle, you are holding 5,000 years of history in your hand. Glass was used as a reliable packaging option by the ancient Egyptians, Romans and right through Renaissance Europe to the present day.


The reason glass has survived so many millennia, and big businesses still use it today, is that it has several unique benefits:


1. It is 100% natural – made from the age-old combination of sand, soda ash and limestone.
2. It is an inert material that does not react with the food and drink it carries, and is able to preserve taste and vitamins without any chemicals.
3. Finally, when a glass bottle reaches the end of its life, it is 100% recyclable – it is melted down into what is known as cullet and used to produce more glass products.


But just like all other industries that consume natural materials, glass manufacturers want to make their products as environmentally sound as possible – even when they start at such an advanced point as glass.


The process of making glass bottles lighter – thus reducing the energy required to produce and transport them – has been a very important innovation in recent years. Current glass packaging is around 50% lighter than it used to be. Boundaries are still being pushed to create more sustainable glass bottles in this way – the lightest weight glass bottle available in the mineral water industry has just been released by Rawlings and Belu mineral water (trademarked Ethical Glass).


As a direct result of this improved product, Belu will save 850,000 kg of glass per year (equivalent to 2.1m wine bottles) and reduce its carbon emissions by a further 11%.


An alternative approach to make the glass (literally) greener, is to utilise the abundance of green glass we have. As net importers of wine, the UK in particular has a lot of green glass available. According to a study conducted by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap), switching from clear glass to green cuts packaging-related CO2 emissions by 20%. This is due to the higher recycled content in green glass bottles, which is as much as 72.4%, against an industry standard of 28.9%.


Unfortunately within the recycling industry, as colours of glass must be separated, a lot of recycled glass ends up in asphalt production, rather than as new glass products. For example, many restaurants have no formal scheme to collect and recycle their glass, resulting in unnecessary amounts being thrown away. Putting a scheme in place to rectify this will however hinge on a co-ordinated approach between local government authorities to bring efficiencies to the system – often a real sticking point.


Investment in the infrastructure to collect, sort and distribute cullet to the manufacturers is the most obvious effort required to scale up the sustainability of the glass industry. Did you know that Cullet has a much lower melting temperature than its original constituents and therefore requires around 40% less energy to create the molten glass that forms the containers?


The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the British soft drinks industry are currently developing a roadmap to help the sector reduce its environmental impact. This is exactly the kind of collaboration between government and business that the glass industry should welcome, to ensure that the future of glass is green.


Tom Wood is the managing director of glass packaging specialist Rawlings. David Balhuizen is the head of operations at ethical mineral water company Belu.


Read the full article on  Guardian Professional.

New plastic jars claim green award but we say environmental benefits are not so simple

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One of the UK’s leading annual packaging awards showcased some great new ideas this year. Known as the StarPack Awards, they celebrate the best in food and drink packaging design, including special awards for addressing environmental concerns.


Friends of Glass enthusiastically support progress on making packaging more environmentally friendly, but we were surprised at the judges’ comments for one of this year’s Highly Commended winners. The Green Star Environment & Sustainability Award featured a PET jar from the Simply M&S range, with its main green gain being reduction in weight. While we don’t question that less weight means lower carbon emissions, after all, most glass jars and bottles are now 40% lighter than ever before thanks to ‘lightweighting’ techniques, we do ask why no other factors were taken into consideration such as material extraction, processing and recyclability? By focussing on ticking one lower carbon emissions box, other significant ones are being ignored.


What’s more, industry research shows that glass can actually lower your carbon footprint compared to other packaging* and only 4-5% of any form of packaging’s carbon footprint comes from transportation.


It’s good to celebrate progress and the M&S jar is clearly innovative, but please let’s not claim it is the best solution for the environment. Glass not only best preserves the food and drink it contains, helping reduce food waste (which causes dangerous greenhouse gas emissions when sent to landfill) it is 100% recyclable and can be reused over and over again, thus reducing need for new packaging.


Simply M&S range ‘looks like glass’ but is it really better for the environment?




*O-I’s Life Cycle Assessment

Trashed – No Place for Waste!

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We recently came across the new documentary about global waste “Trashed” and couldn’t help but share this with you. In this film, Academy Award winning actor Jeremy Irons explores some of the world’s most environmentally polluted places to reveal the extent of how our rubbish is affecting us and our planet.


In this visual and emotionally-charged film, Jeremy takes us on a journey to explore the risks to the food chain and the environment by the rising tide of household waste found at sea.


Jeremy says “There is a clear feeling from a growing number of people that the time has come for us all to start to try and change our ways, and to endeavour to live a more careful life.”


This movie is a positive, if alarming wakeup call. It ends on a message of hope – we can all do something to help stop the problem, all we need to do is take small actions every day!


One easy place to start is in our choice of packaging. By choosing to buy our favourite foods and drinks in glass, we can do our bit to ensure more is recycled rather than dumped.  Did you know that glass is one of the most sustainable types of packaging? Glass is inert and made from three simple ingredients: sand, limestone and soda ash and  can be recycled over and over again without any loss in quality.


Find more information about the documentary here.







Why Lucy Loves Glass – and We Love Lucy!

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We were fascinated to read Lucy Siegle’s column in the Observer magazine, where she responded to a reader’s enquiry : “Are plastic jars worse for the environment?”.


In her article, Lucy asks, “Why don’t companies package their products the way they used to?”  She says “Many brands claim they’re being greener by shifting into some new fancy-pants type of plastic (as opposed to saving money). Glass is inert and straightforward (it is essentially sand, soda ash and limestone) and keeps products fresh without plastic films and barriers. It is also highly recyclable – scrap glass, cullet, is a key production ingredient for new glass.”


After weighing up the environmental pros and cons of both materials, she concludes “I urge you to remain a glass purist. While it’s hard to stem the rising tide of plastic packaging, plastic waste – from bottles to the tiny beads called mermaid’s tears – is wreaking havoc on oceans especially. Nothing against PET, the most widely used and recycled plastic… but glass wins for me.”


Glass recycling and reuse contribute significantly to reducing glass packaging’s carbon footprint. It’s resource efficient packaging so it can be reused in its original form over and over again without any loss in quality.


Several initiatives currently under way in the glass industry will further increase the efficiency of glass packaging. This includes efforts to improve the recycling rates of glass jars and bottles, leading to a decrease in energy use and global warming potential. Also, the continuing process to light weight glass containers, which helps reduce raw material usage, emissions, energy used and overall weight.


Friends of Glass would like to know which grocery products you miss being packaged in glass and why? Tweet us @glassfriendsuk or get in touch on Facebook.






Consumers agree that Glass is good for you and the Environment

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Friends of Glass were delighted to see that consumers know that when they buy products in glass, they can be sure about the natural choice they are making for their families and the environment.


According to the recent Waste and Resource Action Programme’s report “Consumer Attitudes to Food Waste and Food Packaging” glass jars and bottles are seen as ones of the least concerning packaging materials.


No wonder, glass is a pure and natural product with an added bonus: there is no migration between glass and its contents. Ingredients such as flavourings and vitamins are therefore preserved for a long time without any change in flavour.


The survey also showed that glass jars and bottles are seen as one of the easiest materials to recycle, The glass you put in the bottle-bank is recycled to make new glass, a process that can be completed time and time again, with no loss in quality.  Also, the more glass is recycled, the less energy and raw materials are consumed.


Did you know, recycling a single bottle could power a PC for 25 minutes, a colour television for 20 minutes or a washing machine for 10 minutes!


*Consumer Attitudes to Food Waste and Food Packaging Report 2013


Marmite Glass Jar Recycling Day

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Bottle Alley Glass, the Yorkshire based glass bottle recycling business organised a Marmite glass jar recycling day in aid of the charity PWSA UK on Saturday 17th November 2012 at MUSE Ale & Wine bar in Wetherby Yorkshire. Over £100 was raised for the charity through donations, raffles and sale of Duncan’s Beads special edition recycled glass Marmite jar jewellery. The 100 jars collected on the day will be de-labelled, crushed into various sized cullet and then fused into products by Bottle Alley Glass. An order for a House sign has already been received and ideas for a special Marmite glass bowl is being finalised by co-owner Philippa Ashbee.


The event was supported by MTT MUSE manager Nicola Outhwaite and her team who dressed in Love/hate it tee shirts as well as selling Marmite Love it Hate it food on the day with a donation being given to PWSA UK for every dish sold.


Duncan’s Beads received two Marmite jars from Bottle Alley Glass and hand crafted the jars into a selection of Marmite special edition bracelet, earrings, necklace and key ring and generously donated these to the event. Further orders were taken on the day.


The event was attended by some 30 members of the Geocaching fraternity who came along to log their visit for the “Love it Hate it” event and enjoy the Muse  hospitality.


Bottle Alley Glass owned by Daughter and Father team Philippa and Alan Ashbee buys unwanted waste glass bottles and jars and recycles them into sheets that are then fabricated into work  & counter tops, wall & floor tiles, splash backs and vanity units, shelves and feature light panels as well as tea points, cafe bars and trophy awards. The product is 100% recycled bottle glass with no added colourings or resins that is 100% recyclable at the end of its life.


Bottle Alley Glass also uses 100% sourced green energy to fire its three large kilns with most of the energy used on an off peak tariff.