Is Glass biodegradable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: April 10, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Do you think that Glass is biodegradable? No, Glass is not biodegradable as its breakdown process is not organic, nor is it influenced by biological elements like microorganisms that work on other biodegradable matters.

Yet, Glass is degradable when acted upon by other natural elements such as human impact (through recycling), water, wind, and sometimes chemical actions, even though its breakdown takes a long time,

Glass decomposes, but it doesn’t happen until after a million years {Ref Source}.

Furthermore, the glass breakdown process is not as simple as it seems, primarily as most arguments stem from the fact that Glass’s production is from sand and so should decompose like other biodegradables.

Our focus here will give you a better understanding of the use, benefits, and glass breakdown.

Glass breakdown has significant importance to the manufacturing industries and the environment because the process involved the use of natural materials with no chemical permeation.

The truth remains that Glass is reusable and very simple to recycle, which means it has little or no negative impacts on the environment.

Is Glass environmentally friendly?

Unlike plastics and other waste matter, Glass is very sustainable and has more environmental benefits with its use and disposal.

Because its production involves natural materials, Glass remains safe and unchanging as it decomposes without emitting harmful chemicals to the environment.

So, whether recycled or disposed of, Glass poses no environmental threat or risk.

Some may argue that the production of Glass is not as eco-friendly as you’d like to imagine.

But the problem is with the raw materials, emissions during the production of Glass, and the energy requirements to produce and recycle Glass.

But on the right side of it, recycling is the only process that seems like a long-lasting product solution by reducing glass threats to the environment.

So, the basis of referring to Glass as an eco-friendly matter can be summarized based on the footprint it leaves its natural composition.

And of course, when compared to plastic containers and aluminum packages, the carbon footprint emitted during glass production is way smaller{Ref Source}

How long does Glass take to decompose?

Glass decomposition takes a long time; some say hundred years, others claim it is a million years, but the fact remains that Glass doesn’t break down and even takes more time if disposed of in a land{Ref source}. 

Glass decay is a small unnoticeable process that doesn’t change even if the Glass is disposed of is broken into smaller pieces because it still retains its chemical composition for as long as it takes to break down.

This is why to keep the Glass away from landfills for that long time.

Is Glass worse than plastic?

Defining whether the Glass is worse than plastic can only be in two ways; Glass’s manufacture requires far more energy than that required for producing plastics or aluminum cans.

A study recorded that Glass’s energy footprint and the resources it needs for manufacture (which are often mined) make it four times worse for the environment than plastics{Source}.

This argument might have been successfully countered because Glass, unlike plastic bottles, is reusable and recyclable.

Still, the percentage of people reusing glass bottles after a single use is low, which brings it to par with plastic consumption.

As this makes no difference whatsoever, it doesn’t make much sense to create an environmental threat for products whose value only a few understands.

This is why despite the economic value of Glass, the manufacture and use of plastics and cans still outweigh that of Glass.

Is Glass 100% recyclable?

Glass is 100% recyclable and among the most recyclable products you’d ever find.

It is a significant advantage of glass manufacture, and most of the glass products you may see around you today are Glass recovered and recycled into a new glass product, be it jars, bowls, or bottles.

In other words, the more Glass is recovered for recycling, the less Glass we need to manufacture because the energy required for recycling is less than the energy required to manufacture new Glass.

A study reveals that for every six tons of recycled Glass is a one-ton reduction in carbon dioxide {Source}.

How do I recycle Glass?

Once you decide to keep your glass products out of the landfill, the next best option is to recycle the Glass to be reused in different forms.

How then do you recycle Glass? Find out a collection point nearest to your location. Some waste agencies provide the extra service of collecting recyclable products, taken to the recycling plant where the Glass is re-processed into new shapes for reuse.

But as a DIYer, you can decide to repurpose your wine bottles or glass jars into something else; for instance, a wine bottle can serve as a flower holder or stand or a container for kitchen items/ingredients.

Most glass jars do well in storing jams, pickled veggies or tomato pastes, and other food items.


Suppose more awareness can be made into ensuring that more glass items are recovered and recycled globally.

In that case, it means we would have almost won the fight against the use of non-biodegradable materials because there will be a reduction in their production.

Furthermore, it is on you to ensure that every glass item in your home goes through recycling.

If not, you should try all other means to reuse. Save the landfills, and let’s work together to reduce Glass’s manufacture by encouraging glass recycling.

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