Glass is a truly ancient material as it has accompanied humanity for around five thousand years; however, over time, its uses have radically changed.
In the times of republican and imperial Rome, for example, it was used not only to create bottles intended for the conservation of oil, wine and perfumes, but it was also used to make various pieces of jewelry that still exist today.
It is, in fact, a versatile element that continues to be loved by consumers of a whole series of products. It can then be used for aesthetic or functional purposes that are impossible to list exhaustively. Let’s try, however, to mention some of the main objects that are made of glass (and see which ones are recyclable!).
The first type of use of glass certainly concerns packaging intended for the food sector – including drinks – the cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors.
What do all the containers produced with this material have in common? They can be placed in the separate glass collection. Let’s see the main types.
Glass bottles: beloved for wine, beer and more
For a glass bottle one of the main combinations is certainly the one with wine. According to the data from the report “The social value of products and activities of the glass industry in Italy” (2018, Censis – Assovetro), for approximately one in four Italians this material is irreplaceable, or almost so, in relation to some uses starting from from the nectar of the gods (for 40.9% of the sample while a French research speaks of 94% of cousins from beyond the Alps) followed by beer (31.7%).
Many consumers, in fact, link this type of packaging to particular preservation capabilities or peculiar characteristics relating to the consumption of the drink which they do not want to give up. Even many producers of bottled water prefer the material derived from silicon, at times, for reasons related to the returnable vacuum service for catering.
Many producers of non-alcoholic drinks have also decided to offer their “glass-lover” customers the opportunity to enjoy an aperitif or a drink in glass bottles.
As happens with bottles used for oil or tomato sauce (to mention just two of the many different uses), once empty, we will be able to dispose of these bottles in the separate glass collection.
Jars and jars
The same fate – that is, the path of recycling – cans and jars will follow. You may have some at home having purchased vegetables in oil or pickle, tomatoes, sauces or yoghurt: once the food has been consumed, you could reuse the containers for different uses or, otherwise, send them for recycling.
Beauty products, cosmetics and drugs
Glass is also often present in beauty cases and bathroom cabinets: perfumes and cosmetics such as creams and body oils are just some of the products that are often enclosed in glass containers.
The pharmaceutical industry also often uses bottles, vials, pill vials, syrups, drops and other types of medicines. The empty container – as we learn from the Junker app – can be placed in the separate waste collection.
Be careful, however, if you also have to throw away the contents (as happens in the case of expired medicines): in this case, you will have to place the medicines together with their container in the specific bin usually present in pharmacies.
Uses of glass other than packaging
Probably in our homes we will also find glass in various other guises that can mislead us about the possibility, or otherwise, of recycling. Do you want to find the magic formula to avoid mistakes? As the CoReVe communication campaign reminds us, “just a bottle and jar for perfect recycling!”.
Therefore, all the examples given below concern objects that should NOT be disposed of in the separate collection of precious material. Their exclusion from the glass recycling process could depend on the chemical composition of the materials or on the fact that they fall into a different supply chain also for safety reasons, as happens with WEEE.
Glass objects in the home that are not recyclable
The transparent tableware par excellence is the glass. We should actually use the plural because usually, in every home, there are several examples that are used, alternatively, depending on the drink to be consumed: there is one specific for water, others (the famous glasses) for wine while the small ones are used for the consumption of spirits.