Glass recycling – are we making the most of it?


Did you know that to ensure the best quality recycled glass and to reap the environmental rewards, it’s important to separate glass from other materials when recycling your bottles and jars?


One of the current issues of concern to Friends of Glass is that while many local councils  now operate a kerbside collection scheme, not all of these authorities separate glass into separate compartments before recycling. This means the glass gets ‘contaminated’ with other materials and leads to lower quality cullet (recycled glass), which is then unsuitable for making into new bottles or jars. Some claim new technology at the processing stage separates the materials effectively, but most of the evidence shows that this is not the case.


Charles Clover said about the issue in the Sunday Times (1/1/12): “Some councils….collect different coloured bottles separately, some all together. This means that as much as 30% of glass is sold as roadstone instead of being melted into new bottles”. We also know from new research in the UK that most people are disappointed when they find out their recycled bottles and jars are ending up in our roads and not back on our shelves as new containers.


While the emergence of kerbside recycling collections has meant that recovery levels have gone from strength to strength, to get the maximum value and environmental benefits from recycled glass, it’s also important to ensure that the quality of what is being recovered is also preserved.


How you can help


We would like to encourage all our Friends of Glass to ensure that their glass is collected separately by taking your glass bottles and containers to the nearest glass bank (as many are located at supermarkets, you won’t need to make a special trip, just combine it with your usual shop or when you are next passing by). By using glass banks, you’ll be doing your bit to ensure that your recycled glass comes back as new bottles and jars and not just as filler for roads.


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