Most Australians can place empty glass bottles and jars in their recycling bin at home. Some types of glass bottles can also be recycled through Container Deposit Schemes for a 10c refund per bottle.
Recycling glass saves energy and keeps resources like sand, soda ash, and limestone in use. Scroll down for more information about recycling glass including what kinds of glass should not be placed in your recycling bin at home.
Why should I recycle my glass bottles and jars?
Glass is made from raw materials such as sand, soda ash, and limestone. Recycling your glass bottles and jars can help conserve these materials by reducing our need to mine for new resources. The glass used to make bottles and jars is also highly recyclable – it can recycled over and over again without any reduction in strength or quality.
What happens to the bottles and jars when they're recycled?
Many bottles and jars currently on shelves are made using recycled glass. The glass can also be ground down into a sand-like material and used in products like roadbase.
Is all glass recyclable?
Not all types of glass can be put in your household recycling bin. Most councils will accept glass bottles and jars, however, items made from toughened glass should not be put in your recycling bin (unless your council says otherwise).
Toughened glass melts at a higher temperature than glass bottles and jars. As little as 15 grams of this non-acceptable glass per tonne can result in one tonne of valuable glass going to landfill (source: VISY).
Glass items that should not be put in your household recycling include:
- thick toughened glass used to make things like drinking glasses and vases,
- sight and reading glasses,
- plate glass (window panes),
- oven-proof glass, and
Some councils may accept all types of glass in household recycling bins (check with your council directly). This is because the glass is downcycled and used for roadbase instead of being turned into new glass packaging.
How to prepare bottles and jars for recycling
Improve your recycling habits with these tips:
- Ensure bottles and jars are empty, lightly rinsed, and dry before putting them in your recycling bin.
- To conserve water, wash them in used dishwater or in a bucket with other recyclables. They do not need to be spotless.
- Paper labels can be left on bottles and jars.
Lids and caps
Generally, metal lids and caps can be left on glass bottles when you recycle them. However, it’s best to check directly with your council to be sure. Metal is a valuable material, so many recyclers will take the extra time to remove it from the bottle so both materials can be recycled separately.
Larger lids (metal or plastic), such as those from jam jars, should be removed from the container and placed in your recycling bin separately.
Small plastic lids and caps (like lids on drink bottles), however, should be removed from the container before you recycle it. Small plastic lids are not big enough to be picked up by sensors when they are being sorted at recycling facilities, so once the lid has been removed it should be put in your garbage bin.