Reliable Glass Bottles, Jars, Containers Manufacturer | Roetell

Refillable Glass Beer Bottles: Can Beer Bottles Be Recycled?

We are fast approaching an era where the planet will start dealing with scarce resources, even those that are believed to be abundant. This reality is already being felt in many industries, and it is only a matter of time before the same strikes the glass bottle industry. Being a great benefactor of natural resources in the form of sand, there’s a growing need to recycle glass bottles in order to reduce the pressure on the environment a little. We are going to focus our attention on glass beer bottles, exploring how they can be recycled, the benefits that recycling them brings to the table and the future of the industry in general. If you are looking to get into the beer industry, this could come in handy at some point down the road.

Can Beer Bottles be Recycled?

The answer is a resounding Yes. Beer bottles, just like most glass products, can be recycled many times over for reuse. On their own, the average beer bottle can be used 16 times before it becomes written off for destruction or recycling. This is more than enough time for any brewery to get returns on the initial purchase. 

However, there are some certain conditions that are attached to the recycling process. These conditions include the following.

● They should not be broken: Placing broken beer bottles into a recycling bin will only lead to contamination of the other materials in the bin, and this will render them useless.

● They should be cleaned to some level before recycling begins to get rid of any branding or dirt which may affect the integrity of the final product.

● They should be sorted by color since missing them up will also cause problems later on as far as blocking UV light rays from affecting the bottled beer.

Benefits of Recycling Beer Bottles

There are many benefits associated with recycling beer bottles and they are widespread across the board. Considering how delicate the environment is and the damage it has received in the last 50 years, the following are some of the benefits of recycling glass beer bottles.

Saves Energy

The amount of energy it takes to create a glass bottle from scratch is a lot. There is the melting of sand that has to hit temperatures of about 1500 degrees Celsius. Reaching this level of heat is not an easy task, and it takes a lot of electricity just to achieve that. From the first process to the last point where the final product emerges, there’s a lot of power consumption, and this can be cut by half if recycling is adopted. Glass used in recycling is called cullet, and it has a lower melting point, and this means the energy used is way lower compared to the real thing.

Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Using glass cullet, the carbon emission is reduced by a whopping 50%, and that number could even be pushed higher with better technologies coming out every year. It is estimated that for every recycled ton of glass bottles, the emission of greenhouse gasses is cut down by an impressive 200kg. This may sound like pocket change when compared to the number of gases in the air already, but it is way better than releasing more of that into an already fragile ecosystem.

Improved Air Quality

In line with fewer greenhouse gases being emitted, the air quality is also improved when recycling is embraced by glass bottle manufacturers. Air pollution is reduced by 20% since fewer solid particles are released into the air. Things like sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, which are the biggest air pollutants and contaminants, are reduced by 4%. This is due to the fact that most of the materials that contain these elements are not used in recycling, and the process also takes a shorter time, and this doesn’t provide enough window frame for them to accumulate in the air.

Saves Raw Materials

Crazy as it may sound, sand is fast becoming a limited resource, and many countries have now turned to dredging up the ocean, causing untold problems for marine life. By switching to recycling, most bottle manufacturers are able to save sand from being used by huge margins. For instance, for every 1kg of glass bottles that are made from recycled cullet, 1.2kg of natural sand is saved. Compute that number to the amount of bottles that are produced each year, and you are looking at millions of tons of sand being left untouched, thanks to recycling.

Saves Resources

Besides sand, there are a lot of other natural resources that are used heavily in the manufacture of glass beer bottles. The most prominent one being water. Water is needed for cleaning and cooling machines during the manufacturing process. By recycling the bottles, the resources used are cut by 34%, and this helps to preserve natural resources that can then be redirected to other important endeavors. This also improves water quality as fewer impurities are released into water sources. At the same time, by reducing the dredging of sand, the water is left untouched, and this, in turn, supports marine life.

Less Waste In Landfills

Despite reducing in mass over the last 50 years, glass still takes up the most space in landfills, and when you combine that with the fact that glass doesn’t break down or degrade easily, those landfills remain like that for years. This makes it hard for any space on that land to be used for anything else. For every 3000 recycled beer bottles, a whole ton of garbage is kept away from the landfills. This number is expected to rise higher with time as better recycling technologies and techniques are introduced into the fold.

It Pays

People have made a career out of recycling beer bottles all over the world. In places where collection bins are not available, the responsibility of bringing the bottles to the recycling plant in one piece falls on freelancers who move from one place to another collecting bottles for, and they get paid in return. This has not only created employment for people but has created a system where people clear bottles from the streets and other places faster than before.

It is Sustainable

Glass is 100% recyclable, and this means it can be recycled endlessly without any loss of quality. If enough recycling plants are set up around the world, there would never be any need of touching sand and other raw materials used for making glass bottles ever again. This would help get rid of a lot of abandoned glass from the environment at a much faster rate compared to any other method.

Limitations of Recycling Beer Bottles

Beneficial as it may be, there’s a reason why recycling of beer bottles is not as widespread as it should be and the following are the reasons why this has become a limited process in a world where the demand for glass products continues.

Not All Glass Is Recyclable

Although glass doesn’t lose any quality in the process of being recycled, there are some types of glass bottles that cannot be salvaged in any way. This includes broken bottles, as they tend to contaminate the entire process. The only way to salvage such type of glass without causing harm would be to crush it to dust, and that takes even more work and energy than making new ones from scratch.

Creates Unemployment

It takes more manpower to make glass from scratch, and this requires more hands which comes in the form of gainful employment for a good number of people. This number is cut down by over half if everything is switched to recycling. On one hand, it saves the environment, but on the other hand, it leaves a lot of people jobless, and that’s a very high price to pay in the long run.

High Costs

The recycling process requires special machinery, specialized labor, and way more complicated chemicals. All these come at a cost so high which simply doesn’t make any financial sense in the long run. The glass has to be separated by color and other small things, and this is labor-intensive and consumes a lot of time. Due to this, many bottle manufacturers opti to simply forgo the whole process and make new glass from scratch.

Glass is a Contaminant

A single broken glass can contaminate an entire recycling batch. It can integrate with other recyclables, and this can make it hard to sort them out again. This can lead to high costs and a lot of accidents in the long run. This is why glass bottles are never mixed in with other recyclables in the same bin. The recycling process set for glass bottles is also separate from other materials. Mixing it with other things will only lower their value and affect the final structural integrity.

How Glass Beer Bottles are Recycled

There are certain steps that have to be followed when recycling glass to ensure what comes out from the other end is usable and safe. These steps follow a laid down path, each serving a specific role. The following is how glass bottles are recycled.

● Collection: The first step is the collection of glass bottles into recycling bins. These are grouped by colors and type and they should be kept separately from other recyclables. This is because glass is fragile, and if it bumps with other hard metals or with each other too much, they may break. Most recycling companies work with drop-off centers that handle the sorting on their behalf at a fee.

● Inspection: The glass bottles are taken through an inspection phase where important checks are done to access if they are worthy of reuse. This includes checking for cracks, permanent stains, or foreign materials like branding paper that may lead to contamination. The structural integrity of the bottles has to be guaranteed for this to make financial sense.

● Sorting: The next important step is sorting, where the glass bottles are separated according to color and type to limit the chances of contamination and breakages. This is done manually by people, and it is usually handled on a converter belt that passes through a row of people weaning gloves, sorting and getting rid of anything that may have escaped the inspection stage. With beer bottles, the two prominent colors include browns and amber green.

● Breaking: The glass bottles are broken down to size to make the recycling process much easier. This is done by a special machine that has over 20 hammers that come down heavily on the glass to break everything down into dust. This process can be dangerous since the glass dust can go airborne, and this can be bad. To counter this, water is added to the process to keep everything grounded.

● Trommel: The rushed particles are now separated by size in a process called trommeling. This is usually done between 3.4 and 3.8 inches. This is done by passing the broken glass through a trommel that moves through revolving screens. In the trommels. There is a set of fans that get rid of stickers and other impurities. The end product is usually fine glass of the same size.

● Bed Drier Fluidization: The glass particles are passed through a dryer that is set to 190 degrees Celsius to get rid of all the moisture. It is also the process where sugars and bacteria are also eliminated to make everything clean and ready.

● Pulverizer: In this process, the glass particles are broken down further using over 36 hammers. The whole process takes place in an enclosed space to stop from going airborne and being inhaled. Once this is done, the glass dust is taken to the rotary screen, and any particles that will be too big to fit are taken back to the pulverizer, where the hammering is repeated again. 

● Recycling: The final stage is where the crushed glass is now transformed back into the complete glass. The glass is melted down, and the process of blowing air into the gobs to create the bottle, which will now be ready for distribution. This process uses heat, but not in high amounts when compared to the original glass-making process. The cullet has a lower melting point, and this makes the process much faster and easy to deal with.


Recycling glass bottles for beer is an important and necessary affair, considering how the demand for beer continues to ride every year. There are many manufacturing plants that are readjusting their processes and restricting their factories to accommodate recycling as more pressure to become sustainable continues to grow. If you are looking to get into the glass bottle manufacturing process and you are not aware of how to start, pay our website a visit to learn more and have all your questions answered.

Reliable Glass Bottles, Jars, Containers Manufacturer | Roetell