Recycled Glass Home Décor & Glasses: Our Top Choices

We love using glass around our home - whether in a beautiful vase, terrarium or simply a set of gorgeous glasses to finish off your table setting. Glass is a simple, elegant and yet striking material. The great thing nowadays is that you can choose amazing recycled glass items for a more ethical and eco-friendly home. Keep reading to find out why recycled glass is best and our top recycled glass home decor and kitchen items.

Why recycled glass?

The materials that make glass are all-natural (sand, soda ash and limestone) however, these materials need to be extracted to make virgin glass. Taking these materials from their natural habitats can damage those ecosystems and usually involve heavy industrial machinery, transport and associated emissions.

The great thing is that glass is a material that can be infinitely recycled again and again without losing its quality. Waste glass (cullet) is prepared by cleaning, sorted, separating into colours, heating and moulding/shaping - either by hand or by machinery.

And how is it better for the environment compared to virgin glass? According to Recycle Now:

  • For every tonne of cullet used; 1.2 tonnes of raw materials are saved

  • The end to end supply chain of recycling glass saves approximately 580kg of CO2.

  • It reduces air pollution by 20% in comparison to virgin glass

  • It reduces water pollution by 50% in comparison to virgin glass

Furthermore; recycled glass has the added benefits of

  • Extending the life of plant equipment & furnaces compared to melting raw materials (GPI)

  • A tonne of CO2 is saved for every six tonnes of cullet used (GPI)

Can all glass be recycled?

Even recycled glass can be recycled time and time again without losing its quality. However, not all glass is the same. Most glass used for jars or bottles are easily recycled. However some glass may be mixed with other materials - for example - Pyrex, windows or toughened glass, metallic glass, mirrors or lightbulbs and you also need to be careful if the glass has had toxic materials in it - think nail varnish bottles, white spirit etc.

How can I recycle glass?

In the UK just over 70% of glass bottles and container jars are recycled (Recycle Now) compared to only approximately 33% in the US (GPI). Recycling wine, beer, spirits or soft drinks bottles and jam jars is widely available and easy in the UK. Check with your local council on what you can put into your curbside collection or check where your local bottle banks are. Also, check if you can leave the lids on bottles as some places don't mind this.

Make sure all the glass is empty, cleaned (no need to remove labels) and free from contaminants. Separate into colours if at a bottle bank to prevent contamination (which will lead to waste and additional energy being used). If the bottle bank is full, don't be tempted to try and stuff the bottle in or leave it on the floor - it can be dangerous and is also classed as fly-tipping (i.e. contaminating the environment rather than helping it).

Very small bottles and small cosmetic bottles (mini-perfumes, nail-varnish) etc are normally too small for bottle bank recycling. Thankfully, you can now recycle cosmetics containers from all brands at many supermarkets and health and beauty shops. Some retailers such as Boots even reward you for doing so.

Unfortunately, Pyrex or toughened glass cannot be recycled so you need to safely dispose of it in your normal non-recyclable rubbish.

Window panes should not be put with normal recycling however, in the UK, you can recycle them - check out Brit Glass for your nearest recycling point.

Newer lightbulbs can be recycled so check with your local recycling centre or supermarket if they have a drop-off point.

Our favourite recycled glass home decor and kitchen pieces

Now we've told you about the environmental virtues of recycled glass over virgin glass - let's show you our favourite practical, beautiful and ethical recycled glass choices:

Eco-Friendly Recycled Fairtrade Glass Tumblers

Recycled Fairtrade Glass Tumblers

These beautiful glass tumblers are handmade using recycled glass. With a beautiful subtle green hue, they add a touch of the Mediterranean to any table setting (indoors or out).

Find Them Here

Eco-Friendly Recycled Fairtrade Glass Carafe and Wine Glass Set

Recycled Fairtrade Glass Carafe and Wine Glass Set

Made by the same artisans as the recycled tumblers. The wine glasses and carafe are available as a set or separately. These glasses are great for red, white or white wine.

Find Them Here

Eco-Friendly Recycled Glass and Reclaimed Teak Bowl / Terrarium

Recycled Glass and Reclaimed Teak Bowl / Terrarium

We love these bowls. Beautifully handcrafted from reclaimed teak and handblown using recycled glass. Each piece is one of a kind - moulded perfectly to fit the individual reclaimed wood. So you know you are the only one in the world with that exact piece.

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Eco-Friendly Fairtrade Recycled Glass and Copper Geometric Terrarium

Recycled Glass and Copper Geometric Terrarium

Handmade from recycled glass and copper; this unique terrarium makes a stunning piece in any room. Don't want to use it as a terrarium - add a tealight instead; the mirrored glass bottom will reflect the light to add a beautiful glow.

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Recycled Glass Stem Vase Bottles

Recycled Glass Stem Vase Bottles

Handmade and fairtrade from recycled glass, these two stem vases have beautiful warm grey, brown and orange tones throughout. Available in two different sizes, we love to add one of each size to add colour and interest to a small space. Great for displaying daffodils, tulips, lilies, roses and more.

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Recycled Glass 2-in-1 Planter And Tealight Holder

Recycled Glass 2-in-1 Planter And Tealight Holder

This gorgeous decorative piece can be used as a planter or a tealight holder. Perfect for cacti and succulents and with golden tones in the finish it is a beautiful candle holder as well. Fairtrade, ethically made and made from recycled glass - what more could you want.

Find Them Here

For more inspiration and design ideas check out our full guide to eco-friendly homeware. Love outdoor dining? Read our guide to eco-friendly al-fresco dining.

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