Re-use of glass bottles
In Japan, glass bottles have been collected and re-used over and over since the Meiji Era (1868-1912), long before the word “3R” was coined.
Returnable glass bottles that come back to the factory are washed thoroughly inside and out to make them as clean as a new bottle. After the bottles are stringently checked for scratches and cracks with an empty bottle inspection machine, they are put back into product service and filled with beer. When handled carefully, returnable glass bottles last for an average of about eight years. This means they are used around 24 times.
Bottles that have small scratches or fine cracks or that are too old to be of service any longer are crushed and turned into a material called cullet, which is used as the raw material to make new bottles.