Is Glass Recyclable? Everything You Need To Know

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Is Glass Recyclable? Everything You Need To Know


Glass recycling is one of the easiest ways to be more sustainable at home. Here's how and why.

Georgina Wilson-Powell

Thu 27 May 2021

Glass is recyclable. It can go on and on being recycled without losing its quality, unlike plastic which degrades every time it is recycled.

It takes around 30 days to recycle a glass jar into a recycled wine bottle or recycled wine glass or something else you can use.

Glass is recyclable because:

  • Glass jars and bottles are made of one material which can be easily recycled in the UK.
  • Glass is made from three simple, non-toxic ingredients (soda ash, sand and limestone) which can be broken down and reformed.
  • Every tonne of glass re-melted saves 580kg of carbon dioxide emissions and glass is only of the only materials that can be endlessly recycled without losing its also saves the amount of virgin materials and extra energy being used to create new products.
bins with glass recycling in them

There are lots of things you can use recycled glass jars for at home, including

  • Storing dried foods
  • Creating a plastic free or zero waste pantry
  • Filling with pickles, chutneys and jams
  • Storing leftovers in the fridge
  • Turn them into recycled glass vases for the table
  • Using as portable, on-the-go salad containers or for taking dressings and sauces with you
  • Freeze leftovers using recycled glass jars
  • Turn them into glass recycled candle jars
  • Use them as recycled glass tumblers for cocktails or mocktail

Read about why glass is better for storing food than plastic.

recycled glass jar as a vase on a table

Can glass go in the recycling bin?

When it comes to the UK, you can put glass in the recycling bin as long as it is items like glass bottles, jars and so on.

Other types of glass like mirrors, light bulbs or lighting tubes should be taken to your local council’s recycling depot or waste centre.

If you have glass bottle recycling near you then you can sort it via the glass colour or if you just have glass recycling bins then dispose of your glass jars and bottles there but be careful they don’t smash.

glass bottles outside a recycling bin

Can you put broken glass in recycling?

Glass recycling will take broken glass but you should wrap it in newspaper or in a cardboard box and mark it as broken.

Some local councils when recycling glass won’t take broken glass. If you’re unsure check your nearest glass recycling facilities or ring your local council.

green glass bottles in recycling bin

How to find your nearest glass recycling bins

Whether you’re looking for glass recycling in Glasgow or Bristol, or your nearest glass bottle recycling bins, you can find the details via your local council’s website or check which supermarkets have recycling bins near you.

What kind of glass, how it’s recycled and where sadly depend right now on your local council in the UK, which is why there isn’t a national map of glass recycling bins or national guidance around glass recycling.

Glass recycling in the UK is a lot more popular and easy to do than plastic or other materials, with 68.8% of glass being recycled each year, according to DEFRA.

Also you can download a variety of apps that can help you find your nearest glass recycling bin if you’re In the USA.

For glass recycling in the UK, frustratingly there isn’t a national system in the UK for recycling so it varies per area.

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