Glass Recycling

Glass is one of the only packaging options that is infinitely recyclable

The glass manufacturing process produces very little waste. In fact, glass can be made in a closed-loop cycle, meaning the end-of-life material from glass can be used to remake the exact same product - over and over again. Additionally, using recycled glass in the manufacturing process requires fewer raw materials and less energy, both of which result in lower carbon emissions. By maximising the amount of recycled glass we use in our production process, we reduce our environmental impact.

The complexity of recycling infrastructures around the world encourages O-I to engage in advocacy, education and partnerships with regulatory officials, legislators, suppliers, customers and community groups to encourage more glass recycling. Collecting recycled glass from consumers by waste haulers is a complicated process, and its success is dependent on a variety of factors, many of which are outside our control.

Find out more about the lifecycle of glass

Glass lifecycle

Glass needs to be sorted into three colours: 

  • Amber
  • Green
  • Clear.


Hint: Many products are imported or packaged with full sleeve labels, so at first glance it can be difficult to determine the colour. Check the base of the bottle or look inside the neck. If you can see through the glass then it can be recycled in our process. If you can’t see through the glass, it’s not recyclable in our process. Remove as many caps and lids as possible.

Why is it important to colour-sort?

Separating recycled container glass by colour allows O-I NZ to ensure that new bottles match the colour standards required by its customers.We put amber cullet into the recipe when we’re making amber glass, green cullet into green and clear cullet into clear. This gives us the best opportunity to use high percentages of cullet in every batch of glass we make.

Hint: Glass is more valuable to the end market if it is colour-separated the source. 

What glass types can O-I recycle?
  • Beverage and food bottles and jars ONLY.
  • We call this ‘container glass’.
  • Recycled container glass is often referred to as CULLET.
What glass types can't O-I NZ recycle?

ANYTHING that’s not a food or beverage bottle or jar, including:

  • Light bulbs and fluorescent tubes
  • Pyrex dishes and ovenware
  • China and crockery – cups, saucers, plates
  • Drinking glasses
  • Window glass
  • Opal glass (creamy-white – looks like porcelain)
  • Glass bricks and mirrors
  • Medical and laboratory glass containers
  • TV tubes and computer screens
  • Vases and ornamental glass items
  • Stone, gravel and dirt


If these materials are introduced into the manufacturing process, they will cause production problems and defective containers.