How to Dispose of Glass

Kathy Adams

Glass, especially if broken, may prove hazardous to anyone handling it -- especially workers picking up the trash or recycling bin, unsure of what's inside. While many curbside recycling pickup programs accept glass, not all glass is created equally.

Many community reccyling programs accept bottles and jars, but not necessarily other types of glass.

Food and beverage containers may be allowed in the recycle bin, while window glass, light bulbs and mirrors are considered trash. Check your local government's website regarding trash and recycling pickup to determine where the glass belongs, or ask sanitation workers the next time your trash is collected to be sure.

Gathering Reusable Glass

Glass bottles and jars -- typically anything that once carried a consumable product, such as mayonnaise or cola -- are allowed in many recycling programs that accept glass. Clear, green and brown glass containers are the most widely accepted. Check with your local recycling agency to determine if they accept blue bottles, as some may not. Some agencies do not accept broken recyclable glass. Instead, wrap the broken items securely in thick paper or a heavy paper bag and tape the paper closed. Place the paper or bag in a cardboard box and label the box "broken glass" before disposing of it in the trash.

Preparing Recyclable Products

Before carting jars and bottles off to the recycle bin, rinse them thoroughly to remove all residue inside. Remove paper labels as well; soaking the glass in a sink of water loosens paper that is otherwise difficult to remove. Discard the caps and lids, unless those items feature a recycle symbol and can be placed in the recycle bin as well. Even if your community does not accept recyclable glass, rinsing the containers out thoroughly helps keep insects away, as there is nothing sweet or tasty to attract them to your trash.

Not Ready for Recycling

Glass storage containers and jars, even though they appear similar to condiment jars, may not be accepted in your local recycling program. The glass for consumable goods is generally of a softer, thinner variety that is easily recycled. If your unwanted glass containers, baking dishes or drinkware are still in good condition, donate them to a non-profit resale shop instead of recycling them. If the glass is broken, wrap it in thick paper and then in a cardboard box before discarding the item the trash. The same applies to broken window and mirror glass, as well as decorative pieces such as vases or paperweights.

Getting Rid of Large Glass

Glass items such as a tabletop, a full window or even a windowpane may not be accepted by a curbside recycling-pickup program. If the glass object is still in decent shape -- for instance, an old, complete window left behind after a remodel -- donate it instead to a charity salvage shop or a salvage yard. Such places resell windows, tables, mirrors, doors and hardware, using the profits to benefit community organizations. If you are unable to find such as shop, an art gallery or furniture store specializing in repurposed, remade materials may accept your unwanted glass goods. Tape glass that is cracked or damaged if you are discarding it in the trash, to avoid injuring the workers picking it up at your curb.