Recycling benefit

Amount recycled
89,140t
CO2 avoided
67,301t
Estimated disposal saving
£10,072,856
Reported as exported
0%

Glass is recycled widely in places around the UK, with kerbside collections and some 50,000 bottle banks dotted around the country capturing the 752,000 tonnes of glass that are recycled annually. Glass waste is significant, with families in the UK using around 330 glass bottles and jars a year.

The great thing about glass is that it can be recycled infinitely without losing its quality, while using recycled glass in the glass-making process actually reduces energy consumption.

The glass recycling process involves melting the glass and cutting it into the desired shape. Recycling glass produces environmental benefits, with the energy saved by recycling one glass bottle enough to power a TV for 20 minutes.

Glass recycling is not without its difficulties, however, with most concerning the removal of contaminants, such as sticky labels, and avoiding mixing different coloured glass.

You can learn more about how to recycle glass on the Wales Recycles website.


Recycling process

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Glass bottles and jars are separated from other materials

Glass bottles and jars are separated from other materials, if necessary. Non-glass items are removed using magnets and air suction

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Glass colour-sorted by lasers and crushed into small pieces called ‘cullet’

The glass is then colour-sorted by lasers and crushed into small pieces called ‘cullet’

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The cullet melted in a furnace

The cullet is melted in a furnace

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Key chemical ingredients added

Key chemical ingredients are added

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Liquid glass is divided into ‘gobs’ that are blown or pressed to create:

Liquid glass is divided into ‘gobs’ that are blown or pressed to create:

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new bottles, jars and fibreglass
  • new bottles and jars (or other glass items)
  • fibreglass, as sustainable insulation for lofts, roofs and walls

 

Recycling process - Glass

Where does glass recycling go?

Top countries (selected materials) - 2022/23

Top UK recycling destinations

Country Tonnes
Wales 48,701t
England 40,220t
Company Country Tonnes
Recresco Ltd Wales 28,380t
Recresco Ltd England 7,667t
Knauf Insulation Ltd Wales 7,509t
unspecified Wales 6,776t
Encirc Ltd England 6,073t
Sibelco Green Solutions UK Limited England 5,767t
Reuse Glass Uk Ltd England 5,695t
URM Ltd England 5,513t
Ardagh Group England 3,758t
unspecified England 3,545t
Project Yellow Recycling Limited Wales 2,764t
Knauf Insulation Wales 2,007t

Top world recycling destinations

Company Country Tonnes
Baudelet Environnement France 165t
Neales Soils unspecified 39t
High 5 Recycling Group NV Belgium 14t
unspecified unspecified 1t