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.