Commercial glass recycling

Save on commercial glass recycling quotes today

Just enter your business postcode…

How much could you save?

Start saving now

If you have multiple properties, please put post code of your head office.
  • Save with competitive quotes
  • Compare local trusted providers
  • Improved service and reliability

Commercial glass recycling

⚠️ Welsh businesses: Starting on 6 April 2024, new Welsh regulations will 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 that your business recycles, 580 kg of carbon dioxide emissions are avoided – the equivalent of driving 15 miles in a typical petrol vehicle.


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, 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.

Why is commercial glass recycling important?

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.

Recyclability of glass waste

It may seem unintuitive, but in fact, most glass waste cannot be recycled due to differences in composition (and therefore melting temperatures).

Recyclable glass

  • Glass bottles of all colours and sizes (Rinsed – soft drinks, wine, beer, spirits, etc)
  • Glass jars of all colours and sizes (Rinsed – jams, sauces, pickles, etc)

Non-recyclable glass

  • 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.
  • Ceramics and Pottery: These materials do not melt at the same temperature as glass and can cause defects in new glass products.
  • Window Glass and Mirrors: They have different compositions and often contain coatings or treatments that make them unsuitable for recycling with bottled glass.
  • Light Bulbs and Fluorescent Tubes: These contain metals and other materials incompatible with standard glass recycling.
  • Crystal Glass: This is lead glass with a different melting point and composition, making it unsuitable for standard glass recycling.
  • Decorative Glass: Glass with significant decoration, colouring, or lead content.
  • Glassware and Drinking Glasses: Often treated or tempered, making them unsuitable for recycling with container glass.

💡 The Environment Act 2021 introduces Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which should lead to more glass product designers considering using recyclable glass materials.

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. Ring your local authority: Ask them how your businesses should dispose of its glass waste to meet their legal obligations. Local authorities support different recycling collection and they will tell you what is available.

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

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

4. Set Up a Collection System: Get a quote from a range of glass waste collection and disposal providers available in your local area. They will typically provide you with free bins and any Waste Transfer Notes.

💡 A Waste Transfer Note is an important legal document that should be kept for two years from the date it is co-signed with your provider. Typically, a ‘season ticket’ is signed once for the duration of the contract.

💡 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.

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

6. 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).

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

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

💡 Can you re-use the glass waste? Are you finding recyclable glass waste in your general waste stream? Are there any new waste regulations changes in your area?

What is the financial benefit of glass recycling?

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

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


The added costs to your business for implementing glass recycling vary based on the size of your business, the amount of glass you generate, and the recycling services available in your area.

Your business will need to rent or buy separate bins for glass (or co-mingled recycling) as well as 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.


Besides the fact that glass products may become cheaper due to recycling, a business recycling its glass waste will save money by:

  • Ensuring compliance: Your business may face fines for not recycling its glass.
  • Reducing landfill tax: This is proportional to the volume of your business’s general waste going to landfill. More recycling = less waste to landfill.

Which industries dispose of the most glass waste?

The following sectors typically produce significant amounts of recyclable 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