Glass can take the longest to break down of all the materials that we use in our household (up to 1 million years!) This makes it imperative that we use effective waste management practices for glass products.
But why does it take so long for glass to break down? It’s all to do with the properties of glass products….
Glass bottles contain no acids or enzymes, they do not undergo autolysis (the destruction of cells or tissues by their own enzymes) and therefore take much longer to breakdown.
Glass is a very energy intensive material to recycle, but can potentially be recycled endlessly. However, even five grams of the wrong glass is enough to contaminate and weaken a whole tonne of recycled glass, resulting in it all being sent to landfill. So make sure you know which glass products can and can’t be recycled.
What can I do with my glass products?
Green, brown and clear glass bottles and jars can be placed in kerbside recycling bins provided by most councils.
- To prepare glass for recycling, remove any lids or caps, and rinse all bottles and jars. To conserve water, wash bottles and jars in used dishwater or in a bucket with other recyclables.
- Be mindful that glass in certain forms can’t be recycled. Window or windscreen glass, drinking glasses, mirrors, oven-proof or heat-treated glass (e.g. Corning Ware, Pyrex or Vision Ware), light globes, laboratory and medical glass are not suitable for recycling. It can be very difficult or even impossible to distinguish between pieces of these types of glass and pieces of bottles or jars, and these non-recyclable glass items can then cause defects in new glass bottles and jars made from recycled material.
- When recycling, ensure you don’t include china, ceramics or stones with glass bottles and jars. It can lead to the rejection of thousands of bottles and jars collected for recycling.
Tip! Please take care not to deliberately shatter glass bottles and jars when you place them in the recycling bin. While most bottles and jars will break during collection and transportation, the pieces are more likely to be larger and more easily sorted if the bottle is still intact when you put it in your bin.
What about light bulbs?
I know what you’re thinking because we crossed the same issue when we were living waste free. Light bulbs – they are such an essential product for the household, but how can we recycle them?
The good news is that Brisbane City Council has the following Light Globe and Compact Fluoro programs available to residents.
- Drop off Facility – Nudgee Transfer Station
- Drop off Facility – Willawong Transfer Station
- Drop off Facility – Chandler Transfer Station
- Drop off Facility – Ferny Grove Transfer Station