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One Day at a Time: Glass

The material I'm focusing on this week is glass. I've been decluttering my kitchen, and have lots of glass jars and bottles I need to find uses for, or recycle.

Like metal and plastic, glass has many uses; unlike plastics, and some metals, glass can be recycled an unlimited number of times without any loss of quality. Recycling glass uses 20-30% less energy than making new glass from raw materials (sand, limestone and sodium carbonate), and there are many other benefits of glass recycling. However, whether glass is created from raw materials, or from recycled materials, the process uses resources (e.g. energy, water), so, as with any other material, we need to reuse glass products as much as possible before recycling.

Reduce/ Reuse

For glass, the main way of reducing your glass usage is to reuse it as much as you can. For example:

  • When you've finished the contents of a glass jar or bottle with a screw top, wash it thoroughly, leave to dry, and reuse.

  • Reuse glass jars or bottles to store dry foods in your kitchen cupboards/shelves (e.g. dried fruit, nuts, pasta, pulses). I use a mixture of jars bought for storage (e.g. mason jars) and those reused for the purpose:

  • Take glass containers to a refill shop to refill with food or cleaning items.

  • The little glass ramekins that Gu puddings come in, can be used: for serving snacks or sauces, to make individual puddings (they are oven safe), for freezing portions of food (use foil, or a Pringles lid, to cover it), etc.

Here are some Pringles lids I've painted, to use as lids for these glass ramekins:

  • If you have more glass containers than you can use yourself, give them away, via:

  1. the Olio app

  2. Freecycle.org

  3. Facebook Marketplace freebay groups.

Here's a post I put on my local Facebook freebay group yesterday:

Recycle

Kerbside recycling:

You can recycle glass bottles and jars in your home recycling bins. Some local Councils will ask you to put them in a separate container from other recycling, whereas others (like mine) ask for all the recycling to go in the same bin.

To recycle glass bottles and jars:

  • Wash them and leave upside down to dry.

  • Remove the lids (metal/plastic screw top lids can go in your in metal/plastic recycling bin), and any labels. if possible.

  • Remove any plastic wrap on the containers (this can go in soft plastics recycling at your local supermarket).

Here's a picture example of preparing a soya sauce bottle for recycling. The plastic outer lid can be recycled, but the inner lid (removable with a fingernail or a knife) cannot be recycled. The plastic wrap goes in soft plastics recycling (as mentioned above). Other similar bottles include oil or vinegar bottles.


Items that cannot be recycled in your kerbside recycling bin:

  • anything made from Pyrex (e.g. cooking dishes or jugs)

  • drinking glasses

  • spectacles

  • lightbulbs

  • window panes

  • nail varnish bottles

  • electrical equipment

Most of these items can be recycled at local recycling centres - check Recycle Now for information on where to take these items for recycling.


Spectacles

You can recycle glasses/spectacles at some local Chemists, recycling centres, or charities. For example, the Lions Clubs collect them for recycling or redistribution via charities to eye clinics around the world.


Light bulbs

Here are some tips on how to recycle light bulbs.

It's particularly important to recycle low energy bulbs, rather than putting them in your household waste bin, because they contain mercury. You can return these to your local Robert Dyas store, for recycling.


Windows

If you're replacing your windows, ask the company providing the new windows if they can recycle your old ones. Alternatively, offer them to people on your local Facebook Marketplace selling/freebay group, Freecycle.org, or via the Olio app. If you don't get any interest, drop it off at your local recycling centre.


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