Glass recycling: how it works and what happens to waste glass

Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / Antranias

Glass recycling has been established for many years.But how does it work and does it make ecological sense?We explain the professional disposal of used glass.

Everyone has seen them and most people use them regularly: glass containers. Separated by the colors brown, green and white, you can dispose of disposable glasses and bottles here. The collected glass is then recycled. Here we explain how it works and whether glass recycling makes any ecological sense at all.

How is glass recycled?

For recycling, glass must be sorted – foreign substances such as lids and closures must be removed.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / geralt)

Glass recycling is basically simple. For successful recycling , it is important that the glass is sorted. This refers to:

  • Glass type
  • Glass color
  • Foreign substances

To ensure this, the collected glass is processed before it is melted down again. Among other things, foreign substances are removed in several steps by hand or by machine, such as:

  • Waste thrown into the container incorrectly
  • Foreign substances such as metal or ceramic
  • Glass in the wrong color
  • Glass waste belonging to a different type of glass

The last point is particularly important for glass recycling. Because glass is not just glass – especially heat-resistant glass with a high melting point such as:

  • Laboratory glassware
  • Glass from oven doors
  • Glass lid of saucepan lids

can render a melt unusable. Lead glass, crystal glass, light bulbs, mirror glass or even drinking glasses can also have a negative impact on the recycling result.

By the way: throw red and blue glass to the green glass, because that can absorb the largest proportion of foreign colors. Lids and closures belong in the yellow bin or the yellow sack, more about this here: Dispose of used glass: with or without a lid?