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Some of the oldest examples of glass are Egyptian beads dating from 12,000 BC. It was not until 15,000 BC that the first hollow glass container was made by covering a sand core with a layer of molten glass. Now, glass has become an essential part of life.


Glass is made from three main materials:

* Sand
* Soda ash
* Limestone

There are four main types of glass:

* Lead glass - also known as lead crystal which is used to make decorative items.

* Borosillicate glass - a form of ovenware and other heat resisting ware such as Pyrex.

* Glass fibre - has many uses such as roof insulation or medical equipment.

Other specialist glass includes vitreous silica, technical glass and sealing glass.

Glass Facts

* The first bottle banks were set up in 1977 but consumers still only recycle 30% of the glass bottles used within the UK. Switzerland and Finland recycle over 90% of theirs! (Source: www.glassforever.co.uk )

* The UK uses approximately 3.6 million tonnes of glass every year.

* Recycling two bottles saves enough energy to boil water for five cups of tea (Source: www.wasteonline.org.uk )

* Glass can be reused again and again rather than be recycled. Check out the Search Ideas section of this website for some great second use ideas for glass.


Recycling Tips

When you recycle your glass containers, remember the following things:

* Make sure all glass is clean.

* Where possible remove plastic tops, corks e.t.c.

* Plan your bottle bank visits with other activities such as going to the supermarket.

* Not just glass drinks containers can be recycled; food and pharmaceutical glass items can also be recycled, just as long as they are clean.

* Put them in the correct banks (clear, green and brown). Remember blue glass bottles go into the green section.

Further Information

For further information about glass and recycling, please check out the below links:


Ideal for children, check out:


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