Glass is an inert substance, meaning that it won’t taint your food like plastic. So it’s ideal to use for kitchen storage jars, and is one of the most widely used packaging in the world. You likely know that glass is made with sand, but it also uses limestone and soda ash to cool the heated sand down, which causes pollution and uses lots of energy. So choosing recycled glass is far better for the planet, than new.
Although glass does not harm to us, it does harm wildlife, pets and bare feet, when littered everywhere. In the Birmingham suburb of Bourneville (a town founded by George Cadbury who used his Quaker faith to create drinking chocolate to stop his workers drinking gin!), the local Tesco wanted to sell alcohol, but locals were concerned due to broken glass litter. So they went to court and due to clever Mr Cadbury wrapping the deeds up in knots (perhaps he knew this might happen?) the store became the first Tesco branch that was refused an alcohol license.
How & Where to Recycle Glass
If you have a kerbside recycling scheme or local recycling banks, it’s easy to recycle all your glass bottles and jars. Blue glass bottles can go in the green bank. You can usually leave the labels on, but take the tops off as although magnets remove them, they can damage the furnaces at the recycling plant. For wine, send corks off in bulk to be recycled – they are choking hazards, if left laying around.
Ensure all glass is rinsed out before recycling. You can put most glass containers and jars in bottle banks, but not Pyrex (like ‘vision saucepans’), cookware, electrical items, window panes or lightbulbs. If the bottle bank is full, report it to your local council (do not leave bottles in bags by the bank). And lastly, show a little glass recycling etiquette (don’t drop bottles in the glass bin at midnight, it will wake the whole street!)
Report Broken Glass Litter
If you see glass litter on public ground, you can submit info and photos to Fix My Street that will contact your council and make the complaint public (no matter who dropped it, the council has a legal responsibility to ensure it’s picked up). This is because beer bottles and other glass with jagged edges, are health hazards to all beings. Just like those plastic beer rings you see (tear the holes and bin them safely, to avoid them getting trapped around wildlife necks and beaks).
One mother in Devon who went litter-picking during the pandemic for something do, came across a glass bottle of Lucozade from the 1990s (in Dartington, the site of the world’s most sustainable college!) The company said it applauded local litter-pickers and encouraged people to recycle. Just as well – because until recently it was one of the ‘recycling villains’ due to selling a bottle that could not be recycled (a different kind of plastic surrounding the original plastic). It was only after a campaign, that it produced a new ‘sustainable bottle’.
Choose Items Made from Recycled Glass
By choosing items made from recycled glass, you help to close the loop and provide a market, for companies to earn money by purchasing recycled (rather than new) glass. The most obvious choice is to buy tumblers (and a carafe) from recycled glass.
This set of recycled glass tumblers features elegant tapered shapes, and the bubbles and lines give the recycled glass unique character. Use the large glass for squash or gin and tonic. The medium for pressed fruit juice or whisky with coke. And the small as a stemless wine glass, or straight spirits. Also in blue. You can also buy nice items from The Recycled Glass Co (made in Suffolk and sent in zero waste packaging).