Can Drinking Glasses Be Recycled?

Updated March 23, 2017

According to the Earth Works Group Recycler's Handbook, glass can be recycled because of its chemical make-up. Recycling one glass bottle saves the same amount of energy used by a 100-watt bulb that's on for four hours. Although glass jars and bottles can be recycled, drinking glasses cannot be recycled.


The Earth Works Handbook said 1 ton of recycled glass saves 603 Kilogram of sand. It also saves 196 Kilogram of limestone and 68.5 Kilogram of feldspar, all the ingredients needed to create glass.


The main reason that drinking glasses cannot be recycled is because that type of glass cannot handle the recycling process. Glass is melted down when recycled in a furnace that runs at 1538 degrees Celsius. Drinking glasses cannot handle this heat because the glass is made to hold cold drinks.


Recycled glass is sold by cullets to outside companies that reuse the material. If cullets contain "tramp material," or nonrecyclables, the cullet cannot be sold. The cullet, therefore, has no value and must be thrown away.


Ceramic glasses are also not recyclable. These glasses are made with materials that can't be melted down. When sent through the furnace, ceramic glasses get stuck in feed lines. Small pieces that are already broken can make the final melted glass imperfect.


Drinking glasses should be disposed by wrapping the pieces in paper and throwing in the garbage. This will prevent loose glass from causing injuries or littering the grass and ground.

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About the Author

Sara Hickman owns a preschool science-based entertainment business in the Greater Cincinnati area. She has a bachelor's degree in communication and psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.