Guide

How to use recycled materials and products

Recycled glass as a resource

Glass can be recycled repeatedly, so it offers good opportunities for use as a recycled material.

How to use recycled glass in your business

  • container manufacturing - remelting glass to make new glass products (for clear, green or amber glass) is highly efficient with no loss of quality or physical properties - remelting the glass offers the best environmental benefits for recycling glass
  • insulation - recycled glass can be used in fibreglass insulation in buildings, and mixed colour container glass or flat glass cullet can be used - again there are significant environmental benefits
  • brick manufacturing - powdered glass can be used as a 'fluxing agent' in brick and tile manufacturing
  • water filtration - recycled glass filter methods can be used to filter drinking water, waste water and swimming pool water outperforming traditional sand filters
  • grit blasting - glass grit (recycled glass particles) can be used as a non-toxic alternative to traditional grit blast abrasives, which are used to prepare surfaces before they are painted or repaired
  • concrete and cement - recycled glass can be used as a natural sand replacement in cement and concrete-based products
  • sports turfs - processed sand (recycled glass) can be used in golf bunkers and top dressing for sports fields as an alternative to sand
  • unbound aggregate - crushed glass is suitable for use in applications requiring volumes of unbound aggregate, such as road construction

Advantages of using recycled glass

There are many benefits of using recycled glass, both for your business and the environment. Recycling glass can benefit your business by:

  • reducing the cost of materials
  • improving the reputation of your business and increasing brand loyalty - demonstrating to your customers, consumers and investors that you have a real commitment to corporate social responsibility and the environment

Using recycled glass instead of newly produced glass does not reduce the performance, physical properties, storage stability or visual appeal of the product.

Environmental benefits of using recycled glass include reducing:

  • the volume of waste sent to landfill
  • CO2 emissions
  • the energy and natural resources required to make new glass

Standards and quality protocols for recycled glass

If you intend to use recycled glass products in your business, it should conform to certain standards. These standards can also help you identify good quality recycled products.

Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 101 provides guidance for businesses collecting and delivering recovered container glass or 'cullet'. PAS 101 contains a four-tier grading system.

PAS 102 provides guidance for businesses producing processed glass as a granular media for manufacturing, sports and water filtration applications.

WRAP and the Environment Agency have produced a quality protocol for flat glass to set out approved standards for recycled flat glass - download the quality protocol for flat glass (PDF, 204K).