How to Recycle Glass.jpgThe pretty blue, green and brown hues add a little more interest when consuming our bottle of sparkling water or pouring out the last drop of extra virgin olive oil. While you may think the recycling bin is the next step for your leftover glass, recycling colored glass is not as simple as one might think. First things first, not all colors of glass can be recycled together. Mixing glass hues diminishes the quality of the recycled product and, consequently, the ability to sell recycled glass in the future. So, what’s the big deal about recycling colored glass? The most basic answer is that not all glass recipes are the same. Nowadays, almost all glass formulas use recycled glass content in place of other raw materials. This is not only economically efficient, but it also saves our precious resources. This technique can only work if the recycled glass is recycled properly by color, reflectivity and other important characteristics. Therefore, colored glass requires a bit of special handling. Specifically:
  • Blue glass is made from naturally occurring iron impurities from the sand. This blue glass is used for food and beverage containers and even home design items like tiles, flooring, stained glass, etc.
  • Brown glass results from materials like carbon, nickel and sulfur being added to molten glass. A brown hue can be used to protect the container’s contents from direct exposure to sunlight and in turn helps preserve the flavor and freshness. Brown glass is mainly used for food and drink preservation.
  • Clear glass is made from basic glass elements like sand and limestone, and is used for a variety of products like food and beverage containers, electronics, home design items and so much more.
  • Green glass is very similar to brown glass because it is created by adding ingredients to molten glass, particularly copper, iron and chromium. Green glass protects contents from sun exposure and extreme temperatures, therefore it is mostly used for food and drink safeguarding.
Many curbside recycling programs require you to sort colored glass from the clear glass. However, depending on your municipality, your local recycling facility could have the capacity to accept commingled glass containers. Check with your local recycling program before making a decision to group together or separate. Adding a single unacceptable item to a batch of recyclables can ruin the whole bunch and decrease the recovered glass value. Make sure to always remove metal or plastic lids or neck rings as well. No matter what kind of glass you might be trying to recycle, always check with your recycling facility when in doubt. It is never worth the contamination risk.