What is Made from Recycled Glass?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 March 2019
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A wide variety of products are made from recycled glass, ranging from glassware to paving materials. In fact, many of these products are not necessarily specifically labeled as being made with recycled materials, because glass recycling is an ancient practice. For almost as long as people have been making glass, this material has been melted down and repurposed as individual items outlive their usefulness.

One common item made from recycled materials is glassware, which can include cups, glasses, plates, bowls, and similar supplies. Home decorating supplies like candlesticks, artwork, lampshades, drawer pulls, glass doorknobs, and vases can also be made from recycled glass. Depending on the taste of the designer and manufacturer, the product may appear obviously recycled, with a rough finish or flecks of different colors, or it may have a highly polished, sleek appearance which belies its recycled roots.

Another common use for recycled glass is tiles, which can be designed for use in flooring, counters, splashbacks, and other installations. Glass can also be melted down and processed into large stone-like slabs that can be used for flooring, outdoor paving, and other applications. Counter tops made from this glass are also available in a variety of colors and finishes to satisfy various needs.


Garden supplies such as ornaments and planters may be made entirely from used glass components. Pieces of glass can be included in concrete and stone settings, as well, and some creative glassworkers turn used glass into pieces for stained glass windows, making something beautiful out of something abandoned and unwanted.

Recycled glass is also used in beads of various styles and designs. African trade beads in particular tend to include a great deal of used glass in their manufacture, since it is often cheaper to work with than new glass, and an amazing array of colors and designs can be achieved by a skilled craftsperson. These beads can be used to make jewelry such as necklaces and bracelets, and they can also be used ornamentally on garments, purses, and other accessories. Buttons for clothes may also be made with recycled materials, as can solid glass rings, bracelets, and similar ornaments.

People are always coming up with new uses for old and unwanted glass products, in a goal to reuse materials as much as possible, rather than constantly starting over with new materials. Consumer interest in environmentally-friendly products and “green” purchases has increased the market for products made with recycled and repurposed materials radically, pushing companies to be innovative and creative.


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Post 9

Glass may be used for different things. But we need to find something new to recycle glass into, like glass picture frames.

Post 8

@parmnparsley- If you type in "recycled glass floor tile" into your browser, you will return a number of good results for environmentally friendly recycled glass tile. One manufacturer in particular allows you to choose the type and size of the aggregate, and the base color of your terrazzo porcelain. They also manufacture resin tiles with recycled glass for a cheaper price point.

You can find anything from recycled green glass to recycled mirrors to recycled auto glass to choose from. Most companies that offer these tiles also manufacture in the United States, so your sustainable flooring is not shipped from halfway around the globe.

Post 7

@alchemy- I have been seeing a number of new recycled glass products for home building lately. I took my daughter to the phoenix Children's Museum, and it had nice recycled glass tile in all of the bathrooms. The tile was made up of pieces of broken black glass and broken mirrors set in a white filler of some sort. The mirror gave the flooring a nice shine.

I am wondering where I can find this type of floor tile. I am planning on finishing my basement and turning it into a family room. I would love to install this type of floor tile. Do you know where I could get something like this? I have not been able to find it at my local home improvement store.

Post 6

I toured a LEED home as part of a design class and one of the most memorable features was the kitchen. The home had an island kitchen with counter tops clad in recycled glass aggregate. The counters were made of recycled glass and concrete, and they had cradle-to-cradle gold certification. The color of the counters was a unique desert red color, but the builder said the counter tops came in a number of different colors.

The counters were also constructed without the use of VOCs so they helped to preserve indoor air quality. I had never heard of recycled glass counter tops before this home tour, but now I want to install some in my condominium.

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