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.

How Does Recycling Glass Help the Environment?

By simply recycling glass, we can:

  • reduce non-renewable fossil fuel usage
  • reduce the emissions of process CO2 from carbonate raw materials such as limestone.

Bottles for recycling

Learn More: All About Glass Recycling Machine

Let us learn about the Pros and Cons of Glass Recycling

Advantages of Glass Recycling

  1. Recycling of Glass Saves Energy

    The recycled glass melts at a lower temperature than its raw material components. The amount of energy required to make glass from scratch is 40% more than that needed to recycle it. If recycling is done on a large scale, maximum profit is achieved. Research has shown that recycling a glass bottle can produce enough energy to light up a normal bulb for 4 hours.

  2. Recycling of Glass Reduces Industrial Pollution

    The levels of pollutants that are released daily into the air around the world are very alarming. Recycled glass reduces the emissions of air and water pollution by around 20% and 40% respectively. Reducing industrial pollution benefits not only the environment but also the entire ecosystem.

  3. Glass Recycling Pays

    Some countries have capitalized on the financial gains that can be had from recycling glass. In America for instance, some states have recycling programs that offer cash incentives for most recycled glass products.

  4. Recycling of Glass Conserves Natural Resources

    Recycling glass saves on the need to obtain more raw materials to make new glass. Industrialized nations with strong economies are aware that their economies grow more when monies do not have to be earmarked for tree planting or purchasing fossil fuels. By recycling glass, they save the natural resources that they already have.

  5. Recycling of Glass Conserves the Landscape

    The aesthetic value of the environment is greatly improved through glass recycling. Many people tend to litter parks and parking lots with glass and other packaging. Due to the inorganic nature of glass, it will never decay. Recycling glass is very simple, and you can start the process by dropping the glass you have into recycling bins.

  6. Recycling of Glass Is Good for the Environment

    A glass bottle sent to a landfill can take up to a million years to break down. On the other hand, a glass bottle from your kitchen takes as little as 30 days to leave your recycling bin and appear on a store shelf as a new glass product.

  7. Recycling of Glass Is Sustainable

    Since glass containers are 100% recyclable, they can be recycled endlessly with no loss of quality or purity.


Disadvantages of Glass Recycling

  1. Not All Glass Can Be Recycled

    Even though glass items can be recycled, there are a few exceptions. For example, glass from light bulbs and window panes cannot be recycled because they contain ceramics and other impurities that would contaminate the entire recycling process.

  2. Glass Recycling Creates Unemployment

    It has been argued that glass bottle recycling has a significant impact on employment within the glass manufacturing industry. Millions of individuals who would have otherwise been gainfully employed providing manpower to create new glass items lose out on this opportunity as fewer people are needed to work in glass recycling plants.

  3. High Costs Associated With Glass Recycling

    For glass to be properly recycled, it has to be separated by color. This process is quite a labor intensive and rather complicated. Recycling in most countries is also done overseas due to a lack of proper facilities locally, making it very costly.

  4. Glass Is Becoming the Contaminant 

    Glass is increasingly becoming the contaminant in a single recycling stream. The broken glass can contaminate other recyclables like paper and cardboard, lowering their value.

  5. Broken Glass Is Difficult to Sort 

    Broken glass is difficult to sort, and if it’s broken down too finely, it may become too difficult to reprocess. When it is too difficult or expensive to separate out the glass, the recyclers send the entire stream to the landfill. According to Recycle Across America, more than 28 billion glass bottles and jars end up in landfills every year.