What is glass made from?

Glass is made from silica sand, sodium carbonate and limestone which are heated to 1700°C until they melt to form a liquid; when this liquid cools, glass is formed.

What are the benefits of recycling glass?

  • Saving energy – compared to making new glass bottles, recycling just one glass bottle saves enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes, a TV for 20 minutes, or a washing machine for 10 minutes. This is because recycled glass melts at a lower temperature than that required to make glass from new.
  • Conserves habitats – by recycling glass you also help conserve habitats from being mined to obtain more silica, limestone and other natural resources required to make it.

Wow fact: Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled an infinite number of times without loss of quality, strength and functionality.

How is glass recycled?

  • Glass is collected from homes and recycling banks. It is sent to a reprocessing company where anything that is not glass is removed.
  • The glass is then sorted by colour, which can be done using a laser beam. The laser detects the colour of the glass and sends a signal to shoot a burst of air, pushing the glass into separate coloured piles.
  • The coloured glass piles are then crushed and sent to different companies to be processed into new bottles and jars.

Where can you recycle glass?

In Devon most district councils collect glass from your recycling bin, apart from Exeter City and South Hams. However, there are many recycling banks you can take your glass to if you live in these districts. To find out more about what you can recycle and where it is recycled in your area click here.


To increase understanding of how we use our worlds resources, take a look into our material world lesson plans.