Glass containers are wholly recyclable and the glass industries in many countries retain a policy, sometimes required by government regulations, to maintain a high price on cullet to ensure high return rates. Return rates of 95% are not uncommon in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland).
Return rates of less than 50% are usual in other countries. Of course glass containers can also be reused, and in developing countries this is common, however the environmental impact of washing the container as against remelting them is uncertain. Factors to consider here are the chemicals and fresh water used in the washing, and the fact that a single-use container can be made much lighter, using less than half the glass (and therefore energy content) of a multiuse container. Also, a significant factor in the developed world's consideration of reuse are producer concerns over the risk and consequential product liability of using a component (the reused container) of unknown and unqualified safety. How glass containers compare to other packaging types (plastic, cardboard, aluminium) is hard to say; conclusive lifecycle studies are yet to be produced.