“Is it recyclable?” Episode 2: BROKEN GLASS

Glass is made from heating sand to an extremely high temperature with other minerals to form a material that is ideal for a wide range of uses. In fact, molten glass can be manipulated to form packaging, car windscreens, glazing or numerous other products. Glass recycling helps the environment as reduces the energy needed to melt the ingredients for new glass, and reduces CO2emissions (each tonne of raw materials replaced by recycled glass saves 246kg of CO2emissions).

If container glass (bottles and jars) is 100% recyclable, unfortunately, broken glass is NOT recyclable. Firstly, for safety reasons as it can cause injury to the collection crew or workers at the material recovery facility (MRF). Secondly, not all glass is the same. For example, drinking glasses, Pyrex and window glass only melt at much higher temperatures than glass bottles and jars. Light bulbs usually contain small amounts of mercury that make them unsuitable for reuse at a MRF.

Broken window and mirror glass can still be repurposed: some facilities convert it into building materials, fiberglass and asphalt.

Table 1 – Comparison for the glass recyclability between 5 Local Authorities

Country Council Which bin/bag/box Notes
England London                        Westminster CC Mixed recycling bag Glass bottles and jars can be recycled. Just put them carefully in your recycling bag, basket or bin for collection. Broken sheet glass, window pane glass, mirrors, pyrex and filament light bulbs (non-energy saving) cannot be recycled as they are made of a different type of glass. Please wrap and tape in newspaper and add to your household rubbish.
England Oxford CC Mixed Glass Glass Bottles and Jars
Take to Redbridge Waste Recycling Centre for disposal Glass sheet
There are many charities such as Vision Aid which benefit from your old spectacles. Most opticians also collect old spectacles for donation to charity. Spectacles /Glasses
Scotland Edinburgh Blue box for individual kerbside collection: glass and small electricals You can’t put these in your blue box: light bulbs, glass dishes, broken glass, ceramics and pyrex
Glass recycling: purple lidded bins for the Communal bin services
Wales Cardiff Green dry recyclables bag Recycle glass bottles and jars in your green bag. Please rinse them out first. Other glass such as pyrex and window glass can’t be recycled in your green bag. Broken glass should be wrapped and carefully put in your red striped bag / black bin. Larger glass items should be taken to your local recycling centre.
Northern Ireland Belfast Purple recycling box Glass bottles and jars
Red recycling box If you have 2 recycling boxes and a small green bin.
Green recycling box If you have 3 stacked recycling boxes (wheelie box) and a small green bin.


To learn more about glass, go to http://www.friendsofglass.com/gb/

To follow your local authority’s advice, visit https://www.recyclenow.com/

This is the end of our second short story on waste materials. We hope that you found it informative.

A final note. Just in England, there are 350 Local Authorities collecting household waste and different rules can create confusion. Would recycling be easier, if you could rely on a mobile app that given your location will let you know which one is the right bin for each item? Click here to know something more about it.

If you want other info, send us an email: info@waytoeco.com.

Thank you!

Cripsy Packets? Here how you can recycle


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