Recently, we spent a morning with The Glass Recycling Company at Smelt Glass Studio in Norwood learning about the beauty of glass and how important recycling this material is.

After seeing the studio in action creating a vase, we were blown (no pun intended!) away by the skill needed to manufacture glass vessels by hand, with Martli Jansen Van Rensburg, of Smelt, sharing insight into the craft. Did you know, for example, that you can see if an object has been hand-blown by the small round mark, usually at the bottom of piece, caused by the glass being separated by the blowpipe?

Then we were given the chance to try our hand at making a paperweight – glassblowing requires co-ordination and concentration!

As Smelt Glass Studio knows, the beauty of glass is that it can be reused and recycled. In fact, every glass bottle and jar in South Africa contains 40% recycled glass. But The Glass Recycling Company would love us to do more.

CEO Shabeer Jhetam says: “We could not think of a more striking packaging to use, reuse and recycle. We appeal for more consumers to embrace the ingenious attributes of glass as a packaging.”

These are his tips for recycling glass:

1. In South Africa, it’s not necessary to place different coloured glass into separate banks or remove labels; you also needn’t wash the glass before placing it into glass banks.

2. Make sure you take back returnable bottles to your retailer, which will be washed and sterilised hygienically by the manufacturer, refilled and reused – these include large beer bottles, certain glass cool drink bottles and even many of the bottles used for spirits and liquor.

3. It is easy to recycle glass by taking glass bottles and jars to a glass bank in your community. You can find a glass bank on or by sending a text message with the word ‘glass’ and the name of your suburb to 32310, at a cost of R1 per SMS, eg: Glass Fourways

4. Be sure not to include crystal glasses, Pyrex™, light bulbs, laboratory glass, windshields and window pane glass with your glass recycling, as these types of glass have different properties from packaging glass.


The Glass Recycling Co
Smelt Glass Studio