Recycling glass: collecting glass and making money thanks to the circular economy

In Italy, collecting glass for recycling purposes has reached an all-time high of 83%, complying with the European standards set for 2030: this greater awareness and commitment on the part of companies, businesses and families has made it possible to achieve significant savings in terms of raw materials and energy.
Yet these are not the only advantages of separate glass waste disposal.

Indeed, not everybody knows that by collecting considerable quantities of selected glass waste intended for glass works you can also make money!

We’re obviously talking about broken glass and glass shards: indeed, many glass containers, when intact, are re-introduced into the economic cycle as part of “return when empty” schemes.

So how do you make money by collecting pieces of glass that companies, shops and restaurants accumulate in large quantities as waste?

Selecting glass for recycling

To make money from collecting glass, it is important for the pieces to be carefully selected: transparent or brown pieces are best; nevertheless, glass in other colours can also be sent for processing and re-use, albeit for less popular products.

Indeed transparent or brown glass can be used by glass works to make new pure glass, whereas glass in other colours is intended for the construction industry to produce foam glass and other insulating materials.

To make money with glass waste it is absolutely necessary for the material recovered to be....just glass!

Indeed, in Italy a lot of people still use the glass collection bin to dispose of materials such as “Pyrex”, the famous “oven-proof glass”, crystal, mirrors and pharmaceutical phials: these substances, which look like glass, have very little in common with it owing to their very different chemical compositions.
To achieve certain particular properties of strength and resistance, in addition to many raw materials they share with glass, they also contain heavy metals that make them impossible to recycle in normal plants.

The presence - even in minimal amounts - of these materials in amongst broken pieces of glass could compromise the processing of large quantities of waste.

It is also important that the pieces of broken glass you want to “sell” to the recycling industry are as clean as possible and not mixed with other substances (oils and greases, food residue, paints, etc.).

How much money can you make by recycling glass?

To understand how much money you can earn with glass waste, there are websites and dedicated portals that publish and update the rates per tonne of various types of waste in Italy and abroad.

Here’s how much you can make today by selling broken pieces of glass according to the latest rates:

• transparent glass waste €78 / t
• mixed coloured glass waste €50 / t
• glass sand €43 / t

To manage glass waste disposal and make money, you can contact private companies, that also deal with all the red tape and the logistics, or get in touch directly with collection centres and recycling plants, which will pay you directly for your glass waste.

If you don’t rely on external companies, then the companies need to set up independently to transport the broken glass to the recycling plants.

Unfortunately, as it is very heavy and cannot be compressed, glass requires massive investments and expenditure in the logistics of transfers, eroding the potential earnings.

Anyone can make money with separate waste collection thanks to “smart bins”

In many foreign countries, to encourage and facilitate separate waste collection and earn money among citizens too, “reverse vending machines” have been placed at their disposal: these smart bins pay out cash for every tin or plastic or glass bottle returned.

For instance, an empty glass bottle in Germany is worth approximately 20/30 Euro cents: this figure can grow considerably if you distribute it over a month, and multiply it by the quantity of waste generated by apartment buildings, restaurants and companies.

In Scandinavian countries, on the other hand, the glass introduced in the reverse vending machine is weighed and, in exchange, gift vouchers and coupons are dispensed.

In Italy, these smart bins are still in the experimental phase in certain provinces in Piedmont and Lombardy.

Recycling glass: a virtuous business for the system

In Italy pro-capita glass consumption has grown significantly: indeed, annual pro-capita consumption is € 78.5, which is higher than the average value of EU Countries, that is around € 68.8 pro-capita.

Glass has an endless life cycle: it can be re-used up to 7 times as pure glass, after which it can be used in construction materials, insulating materials and as a “component” for other derived products.
The growing faith of Italian consumers in glass as a packaging material and the awareness of the importance of separate waste collection and recycling can lead to considerable economic advantages for municipalities and manufacturing businesses.

Unfortunately, however, the selection of broken pieces of glass is still a long way behind: there is misinformation about the possibilities of making money with waste and the types of glass that are suitable for recycling.

A large number of start-up companies in Italy are taking steps to disseminate the culture of recycling and the possibility of turning separate glass waste collection into a source of ancillary income or a profitable activity, such as the franchising: “Ecopunto”, the first network of shops that also purchase retail waste and pay cash.

Borgonovo Mistral wine glasses and stemmed glass: more aroma for your enjoyment, less alcohol for your health

Mistral is the first and only stemmed wine glass that fully enhances the aromas and organoleptic properties while looking after your health!

Mistral is a line of wine tasting glasses in 100% Italian quality glass designed ergonomically to emphasise the fragrances of wines and allow, simply by swivelling them, rapid oxygenation and an up to 30% reduction in the alcohol content through the evaporation of carbon dioxide.

This is possible thanks to special “ribs” in relief on the inner surface of the glass which activate a chemical process for the release of the carbon dioxide contained in the wine, as well as making Mistral products unique and recognisable owing to their elegant design.

mistral 64 concept

Mistral glasses are the first ever “aerating wine drinkwear”, a new way to taste wine which offers significant advantages for both health and for the quality of the “tasting”:

• immediate oxygenation of the wine
• no need for decanting
• drop in the sensory perception of alcohol, better to appreciate the aromatic fragrances
• up to 30% less alcohol assimilated by the blood
• possible reduction in calorie intake

Mistral glasses are available in the stemmed glass version with a 64 and 70 ml capacity, as well as in the 490 cc stemless version.

Drink good wine with Mistral: a tool for sommeliers, a pleasure for all

Oxygenation, combined with the evaporation of the alcohol content in the wine triggered by swivelling Mistral wine tasting glasses, is a genuine revolution in the world of wine tasting, which supports the task of both the sommelier and industry professionals, offering:

• quicker and more accurate tasting analyses
• reduced impact of the alcohol content on the sensory abilities
• possibility of performing more tests in less time (including of full-bodied and aged wines), retaining the enjoyment of drinking

But Mistral glasses make tasting wine a more accessible and healthy pleasure for all: the reduction in the amount of alcohol absorbed by the blood limits the negative impact on the internal organs (liver, spleen, kidneys, etc.), on the nervous and cardio-vascular system, on the digestive tract and on cognitive abilities, favouring a safer and more responsible consumption.


More flavour, fewer calories with Mistral wine glasses

How many calories can a glass of wine contain?

1 glass of red wine (150 ml) can contain between 80 and 120 calories, depending on the alcohol content (10-14°) whereas 1 glass of white wine (150 ml) can contain between 80 and 110 calories, depending on the alcohol content (10-12°).

These values make drinking wine an enjoyable moment to take with parsimony if you want to avoid exceeding your recommended daily calorie intake and compromise your figure and health.
But how much wine should you drink a day?

The recommended amount is between 7 and 10% of the daily calorie intake of an adult, in other words approximately two glasses of wine with an average alcohol content.

Although there is no official scientific proof, tests conducted on the glasses in the Borgonovo Mistral line suggest that a reduction in the alcohol assimilated by the blood also leads to an equal reduction in the calorie intake.

Your blood sugar levels can also be safeguarded thanks to the evaporation of the alcohol: what were sugars in the grapes, through fermentation, were transformed into alcohol to allow vinification to take place. That’s why irresponsible consumption of this much beloved product is not recommended to people who suffer from diabetes and insulin resistance.

Mistral wine glasses can be an important tool to cut calories and reduce sugar intake, while leaving the pleasure of enjoying a glass of wine intact.

mistral white wine

How carbon dioxide forms in wine and why it is an enemy of your health 

In the fermentation process of all types of wine, carbon dioxide forms naturally, as it is released by the yeasts and builds up inside the liquid, acting like a preservative and “sealant” against oxidation.

While the presence of carbon dioxide is positive for the quality of wine, improving its organoleptic qualities and ageing, it is detrimental to the health of the person drinking it: indeed, ingesting this gas fosters the rapid absorption of the alcohol by the blood vessels, which carry it to the liver and in a small part to other internal organs too.

Massive quantities of alcohol can cause irreparable damage to the circulation, cardio-vascular, neurological systems and to your main organs.

The rapid oxygenation encouraged by Mistral wine glasses enables the evaporation of a significant quantity of carbon dioxide present (up to 30% certified), slowing down the alcohol absorption process in the stomach: the gastric acids thus have time to break down and digest the wine molecules, attacking the alcohol and lowering the percentage of ethanol destined to penetrate the blood flow.


How to taste wine with glasses from the Mistral line

Pour your favourite wine into the Mistral glass and swivel the glass anti-clockwise.

The wine molecules, as they “strike” the special relief surface of the glass that Borgonovo devised exclusively for the Mistral line begin to release carbon dioxide, releasing aromatic elements and fragrances.

The chemical process triggered thanks to the special ergonomic shape of these glasses causes the loss of carbon dioxide, leaving room for the rapid inflow of oxygen: this way, the wine is oxygenated immediately, without the need for lengthy decanting.

Tasting aged and full-bodied wines becomes quick and easy with Mistral:

• no inconvenient decanting
• no waiting time required
• immediate tasting with less alcohol and aromas emphasised to the max
• reduced impact of the alcohol content (usually important in aged wines) on the assessment abilities and on the components of the overall taste

The efficacy of Mistral glasses was assessed and certified through thorough scientific tests conducted by Prof. Mauro Ceccanti and his research team at the Faculty of Medicine in Rome.

mistral poster Low res


Glasses, glass tableware and other glassware: practical advice for their care and maintenance

Glass has many positive qualities, making it suitable for multiple practical and decorative uses: it is hygienic, dishwasher-proof, resistant to exposure to sunlight and to temperature changes.

Moreover, as it is a non-porous material, glass features a high resistance to decay and aesthetic deterioration, it does not undergo plastic deformation and can withstand intense stresses even if short-lived.

To retain and prolong the characteristics of glass over time and reduce the risk of cracks and breakages, it is important to take certain steps for its optimal use, cleaning and preservation.

In this article, you will find some practical tips to prolong the life and sparkle of glasses, vases, tableware and other glassware items.

Is glass heat resistant? Thermal shock and exposure to naked flames

We advise against exposing glass to flames or direct sources of heat: the material tends to darken and become damaged to different extents over time, depending on the thickness and type.

Objects in tempered or borosilicate glass (also known as pyrex) instead have a high resistance to high temperatures and can be used for cooking and heating up food and drinks on the hob or in a traditional oven.

To prevent breakages and keep the glass strong and gleaming, it is important to avoid thermal shocks, i.e. sudden changes from cold to hot and vice versa.
A glass tumbler that is hot because it has just been taken out of the dishwasher should not be used immediately to contain iced drinks or be placed inside a refrigerator: allow your glassware to return to room temperature before heating or cooling them again.

DO make sure your glassware is at room temperature before putting cold or hot liquids in it

Glass in the microwave

Glass is the most suitable material for microwave cooking since it allows heat to be propagated uniformly and optimally, distributing it across the surface of the whole container. Since it is transparent, it is perfect to monitor cooking and avoid nasty spills.

So feel free to use glass refrigerator containers in the microwave, such as Igloo and Superblock by Borgonovo, which are ideal for taking your lunch to the office, and heating up when it’s lunch-time: it is advisable to take the container out of the refrigerator at least half an hour before you place it in the microwave to avoid thermal shocks and remember to remove plastic lids, which are not designed to withstand such high temperatures.


Cleaning glass: removing limescale, grease and streaks

There are numerous special glass cleaning detergents on the market: they are generally suitable for all types of glass and, when distributed on the surfaces with the help of a soft lint-free cloth, they leave objects perfectly clean and transparent. You can also find products that not only clean but also protect the glass from dust and streaks.

If your glassware features streaks, traces of grease or is encrusted with limescale deposits or other residue, as in the case of flower vases or food containers, you can opt for pre-washing: soak for a few hours in warm water and mild detergent or, in the case of stubborn dirt, in water with baking soda or vinegar.
Avoid commercial limescale removers because they might damage the glass and compromise its sparkle.
If the limescale deposits do not come away, avoid using acids, especially fluoride, and any kind of abrasive sponge or wire pad, which could irreparably scratch the surface of your glassware.
For stubborn dirt that’s difficult to reach, such as on the bottom of glass bottles and jugs, a very effective remedy is a mixture of soapy water and rice: fill the containers with hot water, two tablespoons of rice and two tablespoons of vinegar and leave to soak overnight: the next day, proceed with traditional washing.

To restore shine to glasses or glass tableware and eliminate annoying streaks, do-it-yourself remedies are the most effective, as well as being completely non-toxic and environmentally-friendly: use a mixture of water (about half), white wine vinegar and a few drops of lemon juice or alcohol (to be avoided in the case of very delicate surfaces) to obtain sparkly, sanitised and scented glasses.

Glasses and glassware in the dishwasher

The dishwasher is a very useful appliance and can help us to clean glass tableware quickly and in-depth, effortlessly: to prevent glasses and other glassware from being affected by repeated wash cycles at high temperatures and losing their gleam and strength, just take a few small precautions:

• arrange your glasses and glass tableware at a proper distance apart in the dishwasher racks, without any other objects covering them in full or in part, to prevent breakages caused by contact with other objects; make sure the glasses are firmly accommodated in the slots

• do not use cleaning tablets because they contain abrasive powders that could damage the glass with streaks and micro-cracks: prefer liquid detergents or gel

• choose an alternative to rinse aid that is less aggressive, and completely non-toxic, such as white wine vinegar

• do you want to wash coloured or printed glasses? Make sure the decorations are resistant to high temperatures and are dishwasher safe or you risk damaging them

DO protect glassware in the dishwasher to avoid breakage caused by contact with other objects

Use and optimal preservation of glass

Glass must be handled and stored with care: even the slightest knock against another object could cause a mechanical shock, i.e. chipping or an imperceptible crack which could compromise the strength of the glass, increasing the risk of breakage.


For this reason, do not pick up 2, 3 or 4 glasses at once or stack them to save space on the shelves: they could become lodged or fall off.
Avoid placing metal cutlery and other objects inside glasses or glass containers or use paper, fabric or felt to line them before inserting or placing anything inside them.

In bars, restaurants and public venues, we recommend you store glasses and stemmed glasses upside down in suspended slots to prevent dust and dirt deposits and facilitate drying and draining.

DO handle glassware gently

Glass containers for food, the safest and most hygienic way to store food

You should never have a shortage of glass containers for food in your home: they are ideal to store leftovers from your lunch or dinner, to prolong the life of raw and cooked food, preserving them against contamination, to keep the fresh fragrance and the organoleptic qualities of meat, cheese, etc. for longer, to take a healthy snack or meal with you to school or to the office in complete safety and much more!

For the optimal preservation of food in glass it is important first of all to use suitable containers, made with high quality materials and fitted with a hermetically sealed lid. Each type of food requires the right container, featuring the most suitable shape and capacity: Borgonovo, leader in quality glass 100% Made in Italy, offers IGLOO, an extensive range of hermetically sealed containers for food and jugs for liquids that are ideal for storing in the refrigerator and freezer down to -20°C.

Igloo line

Igloo by Borgonovo, high quality glass containers for food and drinks 100% Made in Italy 

The Igloo line by Borgonovo comprises high quality glass containers that are perfect for storing cold cuts, fresh and mature cheeses, pulses, pasta, rice, fruit and vegetables - both raw and cooked, ready-made sauces and salsas, yoghurt and much more; the line also includes two capacious hermetically sealed jugs to preserve fruit juices and fresh slow-pressed juices and keep them fresh for longer and serve them at the table with style.


All the IGLOO glass containers for food by Borgonovo can be washed in a dishwasher at high temperatures together with their hermetically sealed lids, which are made of BPA- and allergen-free plastic, and they can be used without the lid in the microwave to heat and thaw food directly, up to a temperature of 70°C.

Why choose glass to preserve food? 

Storing food in glass offers interesting advantages not only for our health, but also for that of the planet and also for our pockets!

Glass containers may seem more expensive than plastic, but the practically eternal life of the former (except when accidentally dropped) and a series of other characteristics of sustainability and food safety make an investment in glass containers much more advantageous in the long run.

In fact using hermetically sealed glass containers for food and drinks allows us to:

• prolong the use-by life of food, keeping it fresh for longer and avoiding unnecessary waste
• avoid contaminating the contents, which are completely isolated from external agents
• keep the nutritional and organoleptic characteristics of food intact, avoiding any type of transfer from and to the outside
• buy food in bulk, which is cheaper than the packaged kind, to keep at home in reusable glass containers; it is thus possible to avoid further packaging waste
• wash the container at high temperatures after each use, safe in the knowledge that it remains odourless and devoid of any type of residue
• dispose of the container as 100% recyclable waste
• serve food directly at the table or carry meals, avoiding the use of plastic or disposable crockery and lunch boxes

contenitori vetro alimenti

Glass containers: favourites on the shelves too 

In the United States, glass is considered to be the only "GRAS" (Generally Recognized As Safe) material by the Food and Drug Administration while an investigation conducted in 11 European countries decreed that 53% of consumers choose food products packaged in glass because they consider the material to be safer for packaging food and a generous 73% for preserving drinks.
These preferences for glass reach 65% and 72% respectively in Italy.

A recent Censis survey conducted in 2018 in this country to take a snapshot of how lifestyles and consumer choices are changing found that for 28 million Italians glass is an "irreplaceable" material in many areas of daily life, where its use should be increased and encouraged, especially in the sale and storage of food products.

The major advantages of this material that are appreciated by Italians are healthy food (35.7 % of respondents), total sustainability and recyclability (25.9% of respondents) and also the versatility and charm of an old material yet one which is capable of accommodating all the modern needs for practicality and safety.

Are you a retailer/dealer/distributor interested in the IGLOO line of glass containers for food by Borgonovo?
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