It's Easy to Recycle
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                                          What happens to my glass bottle?

Glass makers have always known the material's recyclability, but glass recycling has grown considerably in recent years. This growth is due to both increased collection through curbside recycling programs and glass manufacturers' increased demand for recycled glass.

Glass can be recycled again and again with no loss in quality or purity. Glass containers go from recycling bin to store shelf in as little as 30 days. Today, 90 percent of recycled glass is used to make new containers.

Although clear, green and amber glass is recyclable, many local recycling programs collect only clear glass. This is due in part to the fact that color separation of glass must occur early in the recycling process to ensure high-quality cullet matches meet the standards required by glass container customers.

Glass beverage container recycling in Iowa is further complicated because consumers pay a 5 cent deposit on every glass beverage bottle they purchase. Consumers can return all colors of used containers to a store or redemption center to recover their money. Consumers who opt not to recover their deposit, have the ability to curbside recycle their clear beverage containers to the benefit of their communities. However, in many communities green and amber glass containers are not collected.

Curious about where that 5 cent deposit on your glass beverage container goes? Follow the nickel

Don't want to deal with redemption/return? Don't toss that clear bottle-just bin it in your curbside container.

Recycled Glass Facts:
Recycling glass diverts this valuable resource from the landfill. Consumers have come to expect glass to be included in recycling programs.

  • About 22 percent of the 10.9 million tons of glass was recovered for recycling.
  • Recovery increased from 750,000 tons in 1980 to more than 2.4 million tons in 2001.
  • Soft drink, beer, food, wine, and liquor containers represent the largest source of glass generated and recovered for recycling.
  • Glass in durable goods, such as furniture, appliances, and especially consumer electronics, round out the sources of postconsumer glass.  Other uses for recycled glass include kitchen tiles, counter tops, and wall insulation.
  • Recycled glass can be substituted for up to 70% of the raw materials required to make new glass containers.

Most glass manufacturers rely on a steady supply of recycled crushed glass, known as "cullet," to supplement raw materials. To make glass, manufacturers mix sand, soda ash, limestone, and cullet; heat the mixture to a temperature of 2,600 to 2,800 degrees F; and mold it into the desired shape. Sand is the only material used in greater volumes than cullet to manufacture glass. Using cullet saves money and helps the environment, because:

  • Cullet costs less than raw materials.
  • Cullet prolongs furnace life since it melts at a lower temperature.
  • Cullet demands less energy from power sources like electricity, natural gas, and coal.
  • Less energy used means reduced emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide, both greenhouse gases.

In short, recycling glass saves raw materials, energy and real dollars!

Glass Recycling Information Resources:


The Glass Packaging Institute