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Yes—This Colored Glass IS Recyclable

By Manna Zel

When Greg Gonzalez, Youth To The People’s co-founder, first laid eyes on the Superberry Dream Eye Cream, he knew the jar had to match that gorgeous yellow goop. 

“What’s really cool about the yellow is that it has this glow-up, night-light vibe to it, which I think speaks to the dream aspect,” Gonzalez says. “It’s this illuminated concept of where our minds can go at night, and also during the day when we dream.” 

After many iterations alongside Heinz Glas, the family-owned glass manufacturer that makes YTTP’s glass bottles and jars, Gonzales landed on a light yellow tint to match the goop’s natural tone—a color created by the vitamins inside the formula.

But is it possible to recycle colored glass the same way you would recycle clear glass?

First things first, if glass ends up in a landfill, it’s not going anywhere for a long time, so the best case scenario is to upcycle your existing glass jars and bottles when you can. If you are looking to get rid of your glass, recycling is definitely the way to go. Did you know that in 2018, according to Heinz, the U.S. recycled glass at a rate of only 34%, while Europe had a recycling rate of 74%? We can do better than that! Since glass is a permanent material—meaning it can be reused and recycled endlessly without a loss in quality—it’s an ideal solution for sustainable packaging, but it must be recycled properly. 

If you prefer holding onto your empty jars instead of sending them out with the recycling, check out these five easy ways to upcycle your empties.

Recycling tip! If you plan to get rid of broken glass, wrap it up in a paper bag or cardboard box before putting it in the bin, so as not to injure sanitation workers that may come into contact with it. 

When you send glass off to be recycled, it’s sorted in specialized plants using an optical sorting system, which uses cameras or sensors to sort which glass is actually recyclable. The deciding factor? How much light can pass through the cullets, or waste glass, ready to be melted down and recycled. 

“If more than 60% of the whole cullet has a light transmission of minimum 2.5-3%, the cullet can be detected as glass by optical sorting systems. Clear glass has a light transmission value of about 90%,” according to Heinz Glas. Basically, if enough light can pass through the cullet—which depends on the color of and decoration on the glass—the glass can be recycled.

When it comes to the yellow tint of the Dream Eye Cream jar in particular, our glass is spray color-coated, meaning it only holds color on the outside surface of the glass. So when you’ve used up the last bit of your Dream Eye Cream and you’re ready to recycle the cleaned out glass jar, rest assured that the color melts off—ensuring your YTTP empties are completely recyclable.