Commercial glass recycling

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Commercial glass collection in the UK

⚠️ Welsh businesses: Starting on 6 April 2024, new Welsh regulations require businesses to arrange for the separate collection of glass recyclables.

Glass is 100% recyclable, making it the ideal recycling material for a circular economy. For every tonne of glass your business recycles, 580 kg of carbon dioxide emissions are avoided – the equivalent of driving 15 miles in a typical petrol vehicle.

Discover the Top UK Locations for Commercial Glass Recycling

In today’s eco-conscious business world, commercial glass recycling is essential. Across the UK, various locations stand out for their impressive glass recycling efforts:

<h3><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Commercial glass recycling in Manchester</a></h3>

Commercial glass recycling in Manchester

Manchester’s Longley Lane recycling centre is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to process large volumes of commercial glass waste.

<h3><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Commercial glass recycling in Portsmouth</a></h3>

Commercial glass recycling in Portsmouth

Portsmouth’s businesses actively recycle glass, significantly reducing waste through convenient collection services and guidelines from Portsmouth City Council.

<h3><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Commercial glass recycling in Cardiff</a></h3>

Commercial glass recycling in Cardiff

Cardiff’s commercial glass recycling is mandated by Welsh law, requiring businesses to separate glass waste from other recyclables.

<h3><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Commercial glass recycling in Southampton</a></h3>

Commercial glass recycling in Southampton

Southampton’s commercial glass recycling is driven by innovative partnerships between local businesses and private recycling firms, resulting in efficient glass waste management.

<h3><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Commercial glass recycling in Leeds</a></h3>

Commercial glass recycling in Leeds

Commercial glass waste collected in Leeds is transported to a glass recycling and manufacturing facility in Carlton, a few miles to the south of Leeds.

<h3><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Commercial glass recycling in Birmingham</a></h3>

Commercial glass recycling in Birmingham

Birmingham businesses achieve high glass recycling rates through partnerships with waste management providers, ensuring efficient glass waste reduction.

Benefits of commercial glass recycling

Glass recycling can significantly reduce the industry’s costs as nearly 100% of disposed recyclable glass can be converted back into new glass products (instead of producing the glass from scratch).

These cost reductions will affect all industries that work with glass. For businesses producing glass waste, the following apply:


Commercial glass recycling is one of the cheapest business waste streams as recycled glass products are  valuable. Arranging for separate business glass recycling will save you money by:

  • Ensuring compliance: Your business may face fines for not recycling its glass.
  • Reducing landfill tax exposure: This is proportional to the volume of your business’s general waste going to landfills. More recycling equals less waste going to landfills and therefore lower disposal fees.


The added costs to your business for implementing glass recycling vary depending on its size, the amount of glass it generates, and the recycling services available in your area.

Your business will need to rent or buy separate bins for glass (or co-mingled recycling) and pay the collection fees of its providers (get a range of quotes to make this as cheap as possible).

Check out our full guide to commercial waste collection costs for more information.

Recyclable glass

Here are the types of glass you can recycle as a business.

<h3>Glass bottles</h3>

Glass bottles

all colours and sizes (Rinsed – soft drinks, wine, beer, spirits, etc)

<h3>Glass jars</h3>

Glass jars

all colours and sizes (Rinsed – jams, sauces, pickles, etc).

Non Recyclable glass

Here are the types of glass you can’t recycle as a business.

Image source: Nisbets

<h3>Pyrex and Borosilicate Glass</h3>

Pyrex and Borosilicate Glass

Used in cookware and laboratory glassware, this type of glass has a different melting point and cannot be recycled with bottle glass.

<h3>Ceramics and Pottery</h3>

Ceramics and Pottery

These materials do not melt at the same temperature as glass and can cause defects in new glass products.

<h3>Window Glass and Mirrors</h3>

Window Glass and Mirrors

They have different compositions and often contain coatings or treatments that make them unsuitable for recycling with bottled glass.

<h3>Light Bulbs and Fluorescent Tubes</h3>

Light Bulbs and Fluorescent Tubes

These contain metals and other materials incompatible with standard glass recycling.

<h3>Crystal Glass</h3>

Crystal Glass

This is lead glass with a different melting point and composition, making it unsuitable for standard glass recycling.

<h3>Decorative Glass</h3>

Decorative Glass

Glass with significant decoration, colouring, or lead content.

What is commercial glass recycling?

Commercial glass recycling refers to collecting, processing and reusing glass materials from commercial activities within the United Kingdom.

Businesses that generate glass waste have a legal duty of care to recycle glass instead of disposing of it in general waste when this is possible, as per waste hierarchy guidelines.

💡 The formal requirement for recycling in the UK was inherited from EU regulations and reflected in devolved regulations in each home nation.

There are two ways that your business can arrange the collection of recyclable, non-hazardous glass:

  • Commercial Dry Mixed Recycling (Collected together as a mix of dry recyclables like paper, cardboard, metal and plastics).
  • Separate glass recycling (Collected independently and separated from other waste streams).

What your business chooses to do depends on what type of collection service is available by your local authority.

💡 Starting on 6 April 2024, new Welsh regulations will require businesses to arrange for the separate collection of glass recyclables. Collect quotes from different providers to get the best deal.

The importance of commercial glass recycling

In general, recycling is considered vital because it contributes to a sustainable society by making sure that there will always be enough resources.

When it comes to commercial waste collection, this is especially true in glass recycling because almost all can be re-melted and turned into glass. This is both environmentally and financially sensible.

Here are six reasons this is true:

Less resource extractionRecycling glass reduces the need to extract raw materials, thus conserving natural resources and protecting ecosystems.
Less energy consumptionManufacturing products from recycled glass use less energy and are thus cheaper
Less greenhouse gas emissionsLower energy consumption in the recycling process means fewer harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Less wasteLess waste is sent to landfills, which have limited space and also have a cost.
More jobsA circular economy creates more jobs in recycling and manufacturing industries
Fully-circularGlass can be recycled indefinitely without loss of quality, making it a highly sustainable material.

Industries that dispose of the most glass waste

💡 Almost 3/4 of glass packaging waste in the UK was recycled, contributing to a total of 8.0 million tonnes of recycled packaging waste from all materials

Sources: UK Gov – Statistics on waste

The following sectors typically produce significant amounts of recyclable glass waste:


What does a business need to do to recycle glass?

The following 8-step checklist should help you make sure your business is compliant with its glass waste duty of care:

1. Legal obligations: Use our compliance checklist to see if you are following the waste hierarchy appropriately for your waste.

2. Waste Assessment: Evaluate the type and amount of glass waste your business generates to plan the most efficient recycling strategy.

3. Set Up a Collection System: Get a quote from a range of glass waste collection providers available in your local area. They will provide you with commercial waste bin rental and a Annual Waste Transfer Note.

💡 Your business is responsible for choosing a licensed provider. If you get a quote from our comparison service, it will be from a fully licensed and compliant provider.

💡 Consider the frequency of collection based on the volume of glass waste generated. More frequent collections will be more expensive.

4. Labelling: Clearly label commercial waste bins to avoid contamination with other types of waste; the idea is to make recycling as accessible as possible.

5. Training: Regularly train employees and visitors on proper glass waste disposal and segregation depending on your recycling strategy (i.e., ensure it’s clean and not broken).

6. Storage and Handling: Store glass waste separately and safely to prevent breakage and contamination and ensure easy access for collection.

7. Monitor and Review: Regularly assess the effectiveness of your glass recycling process and make adjustments as necessary for efficiency and compliance.