Glass manufacture is one of the reasons sandy beaches are disappearing. Due to the high demand for sand, the planet’s reserves are being threatened. Three-quarters of the world’s beaches are in decline and bound to disappear as victims of erosion or sand smuggling. Sand is the source of silicon dioxide, a mineral found in an astounding variety of products we use on a daily basis - including glass. 

Read about and watch the Sand Wars movie which documents the disappearance of beaches around the world. 

This Rubbish Trip article takes a comprehensive look at all sides of the glass story.


Drink bottles, wine bottles through to jam jars and preserving jars.

It takes just four ingredients to make glass - silica sand, soda ash, limestone and recycled glass (or cullet).  These four minerals are heated in a furnace to temperatures of 1200-1500 degrees.  The resulting melted mixture is then formed into bottles and jars, cooled and ready for use.

The energy saved by recycling one glass bottle will

  • power a 100watt light bulb for almost one hour
  • power a computer for 25 minutes
  • power a colour TV for 20 minutes
  • power a washing machine for 10 minutes!

Glass containers are 100 percent recycable, can be recycled endlessly. Recovered glass is used as one of the four main ingredients to make new glass.

Every tonne of glass that is recycled results in one tonne of raw materials saved to process new glass including - 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash and 380 pounds of limestone.

Read more Glass Facts from the good people at Love Southland.


Reduce the need for new glass jars and bottles by refilling with your own home-made or bulk-bin supplies.


Reuse jars and bottles for storage in the kitchen, bathroom, craft room and garage.

The ReUse Academy takes some glass jars and bottles (with lids please!) in its Jar Bar for jam/chutney/sauce makers. 


Glass can be recycled at the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre. Rinse bottles and jars and separate into clear, brown and green glass for recycling.

Window glass is not accepted for recycling, though a local solution is being sought. 


Dispose of glass to landfill as a last option.