Recycling glass is simple and, as most families go through a number of glass jars and bottles in a week, an act of recycling can be very beneficial, accompanied by a number of advantages and, of course, disadvantages.

Recycling glassAdvantages

The advantages are numerous but the one that really sticks its head out is the fact that glass can be recycled over and over again. It’s a sustainable method and it doesn’t reduce the quality of the glass each time it’s recycled. It’s also thought that around 70% of all glass is recycled glass nowadays, highlighting the efficiency of recycling.


Its efficiency is demonstrated further when you realise that creating glass from sand involves a lot of energy input so recycling saves on this. This means it manages to stave off industrial pollution as it requires less heat and pressure. In addition to this, glass is formed from materials such as limestone and, of course, sand, which don’t have high levels of chemical reactions, making them relatively safe to reuse. Even if new glass does have to be made, there is no shortage of sand and limestone, making glass a very prevalent material, primed for recycling opportunities.


Essentially, it’s a useful method as recycled glass can be used for a grand number of things, and, as mention, it’s incredibly simple. It’s one of the easiest things to recycle and is accepted by most programs. Its simplicity is easy to document as well, which, in turn, instructs and educates others about the importance of recycling. This will help individuals become far more concerned and active when it comes to helping the environment.


Whilst this is all good and fine, it should be noted that there are definitely some limitations to recycling glass, just as there are with any other material.

As mentioned before, glass is not hard to come by and new glass is not at all expensive to form, bringing into question the idea of recycling used glass when new materials can be formed with ease. Again, sand is readily available and the process is quick and cheap.

Costs and Utilisation

Furthermore, recycling glass has been linked with high costs, particularly linked with businesses and the transportation of the recycled materials. Another complication, though relatively small, is that glass has to be separated into a number of different colours, adding an extra complication which could be avoided. A lack of recycling facilities is also a problem as transportation out of the country racks up the cost considerably.


Alternatively, there is the argument that recycling glass can in fact reduce the number of jobs available, as opposed to creating them. The argument here lies in the fact that recycling severely cuts into the business of forming and creating bottles and jars, reducing the manpower needed to operate these facilities and, in turn, reducing the number of jobs available to fill.


Finally, recycling glass can be a waste of time in some cases as generic glass is not widely used. Instead, most cullets are formed into certain types of bottles and jars, designed for a specific reason, meaning it’s a lot harder to replicate this process during the recycling procedure. This can lead to downtime with the machinery, raise the costs once more and even provide an ineffectual, inefficient product.

Leslie writes for Ulster Glass who recycle glass and sell it as decorative chippings.