Glass: One of Our Sustainable Materials

Outlining the positives and negatives to give you a balanced understanding of how sustainable glass is as a material.

Our Commitment

Glass sustainability is a big topic and we are not going to go into too much detail here because there are so many great sources out there that cover it. Also, advances in research and development are always changing the way we measure how sustainable glass is as a material.

To help you understand how sustainable glass is, we do want to give you a quick overview that covers what we consider the key points. We are going to outline positives and negatives to give you a balanced understanding of how sustainable glass is as a material. We encourage you to then do some further reading if you want to find out more information when you have a bit of spare time on your hands.

Is glass sustainable?

Unfortunately there is not a simple yes or no answer. To help break this down we have outlined some of the pros and cons of glass as a material with regards to sustainability. Remember, sustainable materials are materials that can be produced in required volumes without depleting non-renewable resources.

Pros of glass as a sustainable material:

  • Glass is made of abundant natural raw material such as sand and glass waste (cullets).
  • Glass is widely recycled and infinitely recyclable.
  • Glass uses less energy to recycle than it does to create.
  • Glass is a long-lasting material.

Cons of glass as a sustainable material:

  • Some glass is not recyclable – typically this is when other ingredients are added to make ovenproof glass, bulletproof glass, or crystal.
  • Glass takes about 1 million years to break down.
  • Glass is heavy which means that it requires more fossil fuel to transport.
  • Glass requires more resources to make than plastic does.

All of this can make it hard to decide if glass is a sustainable material or not. To help us make this decision, it is important to look at the context – in our case this means looking at what product is made of glass and why it is made of glass. For example, we might ask ourselves the following questions to come to our decision:

  • Is the product meant to be long-lasting? If yes then it is a tick in the sustainability box. If it is single-use then this would be a big cross.
  • Is the glass being used recyclable? Again, a yes would be a tick and a no would be a cross.
  • Is the product made with recycled glass? Again, a yes would be a tick and a no would be a cross.
  • Would another material be more appropriate? For example, believe it or not, plastic can sometimes be a more sustainable choice if it is recyclable and reusable. For instance, it is more sustainable (and practical in this example) to use a plastic bag for life than it is to use a glass box. Even if the box couldn’t break, the plastic would still be more sustainable because the difference in weight and size means that a lot less fossil fuel is used in its transportation. 

We tag our products as being sustainably made with glass after we have looked at this context and come to a decision on whether or not the glass is being used sustainably.

How do you know if our product is made with sustainable glass?

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a product is made with glass or plastic when looking at an image on a screen. So, if one of our products is made with glass and if we have come to the decision that it is being used as a sustainable material then it will have a tag on its product page on our website to let you know. In fact, you probably got to this page by clicking on one of these tags:
Sustainable Materials – Made with Glass: Learn More

About Our Ethical Tagging System

We created an ethical tagging system to help you understand the impact our products have on the world. On each product’s page on our website, we highlight the ethical tags that apply to that product so you can better understand how that exact product is ethically sourced. Look out for this tag for products made with glass:
Sustainable Materials – Made with Glass: Learn More