How long does glass take to decompose?

The use of glass as a material for packaging dates back to approximately 3,000 years B.C. However, several archaeological studies have found drinks in Egyptian tombs from earlier dates, so the glass was part of the daily life of humans since ancient Egyptian times. These data reveal the importance of the use of glass in our lives, although, as we can imagine, its use was not always linked to proper glass management and consideration of the degradation time of glass in nature. Today, we know that the advantages of recycling glass are very important and valuable and that avoiding the possible effects of glass pollution, both in nature and in urban anthropic ecosystems, is essential.

If you want to know how long it takes for glass to degrade and numerous data and measures related to its management, continue reading this article of EcologíaVerde.


Video can take about 4,000 years to biodegrade – surprising, isn’t it? Although glass is fragile, its ecological footprint is not. It is very difficult for microorganisms in the soil to decompose it, whatever the dimensions and shapes (such as glass bottles, glasses, crystal glasses, etc.) Glass is mostly made of sand, together with calcium and sodium carbonates. It can be fully recycled for use as ecological insulation for construction (fiberglass using recycled glass).

How long does it take for other everyday materials to biodegrade?

– Chewing gum: 5 years.
– Cigarette butts: 2 years.
– Paper: 3 months.
– Fruit peel: 6 months.
– Newspapers: 1 year.
– Plastic bags: 100 to 1000 years.
– Plastic bottles: up to 700 years.
– Phone cards: 1000 years.

It is really incredible how long certain materials take to erase their footprint from the Earth, so it is extremely important to be responsible and do what is within our reach: REDUCE AND REUSE to produce the least possible damage to the planet that houses us.

What are the environmental benefits of recycling glass?

  • Reducing the volume of waste in landfills
    • Recycling 3 glass bottles avoid depositing 1kg of waste in landfills or incinerators.
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere
    • o Recycled glass reduces CO2 emissions with respect to the use of raw material. Recycling glass preserves air quality and curbs the effects of pollution.
  • Avoiding the extraction of raw materials
    • Recycled glass allows the manufacture of containers an infinite number of times, thus avoiding the extraction of raw materials from nature.
  • Recycling only 3 glass bottles allows (for example):
    • Save enough energy to keep a low-energy light bulb on for 9 days.
    • The energy needed to run a dishwasher three times.
    • The energy to wash the clothes of a family of 4 members three times.
    • Charge a smartphone for a year.
    • Saving enough energy to charge the battery of a tablet almost 300 times.