Can You Recycle Glass Bottles? What You Need to Know
The average American creates 4.5 pounds of trash per day. A majority of this comes from the disposal of single-use plastics. Recycling helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
Unfortunately, the rules of recycling can be too complex for some to understand about what can and can’t be recycled. This leads to many recyclable items still getting thrown out.
Glass is a great alternative to plastic packaging, but you may be wondering, “Can you recycle glass bottles?”
In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about recycling glass bottles. If you’re interested in learning more on this subject, then keep reading this post.
Can You Recycle Glass Bottles?
For this topic, there really isn’t a straightforward yes or no answer yet. There are many factors that contribute to whether the glass is recyclable.
28 billion glass bottles and glass jars end up in landfills each year. As a visual example of this number, it equates to 2 full Empire State Buildings filled with glass waste every three weeks.
Glass should be 100% recyclable, but many states still do not fully recycle their glass bottles. On top of all this, it can take from 4,000 up to 1 million years or more for glass to break down on its own in a landfill.
Glass Bottle Bill Redemption States
Only 10 states offer a recycling incentive program, where individuals receive money, between 5 and 10 cents per bottle, for bringing these glass bottles to a recycling center. These states are:
- New York
Of these 10 states, the return rate for glass bottles is 85% in Oregon and Michigan. Some states, like Vermont and Maine, offer a 15-cent deposit back on glass liquor bottles.
But not all of these states accept the same types of glass bottles for recycling. For instance, Maine and Oregon do not accept glass bottles that contain dairy products for recycling return.
Maine’s bottle redemption law covers about 90% of all glass bottles sold in its state, but Massachusetts only covers about 42% of its beverage containers sold.
So, can you recycle glass bottles in every state? Yes, but you should make certain that it falls within the parameters of your specific state’s rules as to what they permit or exclude before you do it first. This way you can make certain it is not going to end up in a landfill.
While only 10 states offer this recycling incentive for glass bottles, recycling is still the best thing to do to help the planet and reduce the waste in landfills.
Recycling Colored Glass
What complicates this issue is that it really all depends on what type of glass these glass bottles are made of. Sand heated at a high temperature is what makes clear glass.
The addition of metals, oxides, and sulfides during this process is what creates colored glass. Some of the most common glass bottle colors are:
- Blue Cobalt
Green and brown colored glass bottles serve a purpose by reflecting sunlight which could otherwise damage and degrade the contents of the bottle over time. This is why brown and green colored bottles contain wines, beers, and other alcoholic beverages. Blue Cobalt glass is for a more decorative-looking effect.
While some states require consumers to separate their colored glass bottles from the clear glass ones into different bins, other states allow for all glass to be placed in one bin, where it is separated later at the recycling facility.
So can you recycle glass bottles even if they are different colors? Yes, but they must be separated before the recycling process. Clear glass bottles cannot be recycled together with brown, green, and blue glass bottles.
The Recycling Process for Glass Bottles
At the recycling plant, the glass bottles are cleaned of any residue inside. Glass bottles, as previously stated above, are also sorted by color. Glass bottles must not be broken prior to this process or they will be deemed unusable.
Inside the recycling plant, the glass gets crushed into small granules and is then melted down at a high temperature. This melted glass gets mixed with soda ash, sand, and limestone to create new glass bottle container forms.
Unlike plastic, which has a finite number of times for recycling before losing its structural integrity, glass has an infinite number of times that it may become crushed, melted, and reformed. The raw materials at its base do not wear down over time. No matter how many times glass gets recycled, it does not lose its durability.
Recycling glass bottles helps to keep more waste out of landfills and ensures renewable materials are always available. This means that glass is sustainable and eco-friendly as long as it continues to be reused and recycled.
Other Ways to Recycle Glass Bottles
Some companies offer a buy-back program where you can send in or bring in your used bottles back to the company itself for sterilizing, refilling, and reuse. They may offer a special discount on products or services or a free bottle in exchange for doing this.
Of course, another great way to recycle glass bottles is just to simply reuse them in your home to put and store other items in. Many individuals use glass bottles for decorative vases.
Glass bottles have so many great uses. It is possible to use a glass bottle on its own up to 25 times before you may even need to consider fully recycling it.
Find Affordable Glass Bottles for Your Products at FH Packaging
Now that you know the answer to the question, “Can you recycle glass bottles?” you can see why it is one of the best storage solutions for packaging your products.
Glass bottles are sleek, elegant, and durable containers with a variety of uses. And best of all, they are definitely recyclable.
FH Packaging has the know-how and expertise you need to find all the right storage for your business needs. We provide the highest quality items at affordable prices. Find what you’re looking for by browsing our catalog on our website.
Contact us today with any questions or wholesale inquiries.