Recycling GlassThe biggest benefit to our environment associated with glass recycling programs is the reduction of waste in our landfills. Because of its weight and density, glass and glass products are a large part of household waste as well as industrial waste. Glass-related waste is typically made up of drink bottles, broken glassware, broken light bulbs, and other products. The second largest benefit to our environment due to glass recycling is that recycling glass requires less energy use than manufacturing glass from original materials (sand, lime and soda). This reduces carbon dioxide emissions and saves energy.

The best glass recycling programs are the distribution, use and return of refillable bottles. European countries and Canada still have excellent refillable bottle glass recycling programs, whereas those types of glass recycling programs in the United States have declined in recent years. Glass recycling programs for refillable bottles typically incorporate a nominal deposit of, for example, five cents, that would be added to the price of the purchase of your drink. That five cent deposit would then be refunded to you when you returned the empty bottle. Collecting empty bottles to return to glass recycling programs is a great way to earn extra money!

Other glass recycling programs involve collecting glass, breaking it and then melting it to use in other ways. Some other uses of glass waste include as an aggregate in concrete and in brick manufacturing, in Astroturf, as media for water filtration, and as an abrasive. Glass recycling for secondary use involves separating the glass by color, because different colors of glass are not chemically compatible.