Recycling Glass at Home

Glass can be a tricky material to handle. Many people were brought up with the assumption that glass could never be recycled, and it is very easy to get confused over when (and how) you are supposed to recycle it. Do you have to wash it? Does it need to be a certain thickness?

Working with glass might seem annoying at first, but recycling your glass is a core part of efficient living and saving our natural resources. The important part is understanding the specifics behind glass recycling, especially when you have multiple types of glass to recycle.

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Can you recycle glass?

In many cases, glass is near-infinitely recyclable. Many types of glass can easily be recycled and used over and over again since the material hardly ever degrades over time. By recycling used glass bottles, you are effectively saving the natural resources that would be used up, creating more bottles.

Glass never fully wears out, meaning that it can almost always be re-used. Since it is such a useful material, there is always a demand for more, whether that is for holding drinks or being used in high-profile research labs.

Can you recycle all kinds of glass?

While glass itself is recyclable, that does not mean that all types are. A lot of glass is used in ways that will permanently change it, whether that is the additions of new materials and glass treatments or due to chemical contamination.

Some of the most notable types of glass that you can’t usually recycle include:

  • Lightbulbs, unless otherwise specified
  • Heat-resistant glass
  • Ceramics
  • Crystals
  • Automotive glass (such as windshields)
  • Mirrors
  • Some window panes

You can check with your local government or recycling centers to check which glass types are allowed and which are not. For example, there may be specific places where you have to recycle certain colors of glass or other similar restrictions.

What about broken glass?

Broken glass usually is not a problem, as long as it is allowed at the site that you are taking your recycling to. Some locations may even prefer broken glass, meaning that it is an easy way to get rid of broken bottles or other types of glass that you can’t re-use.

Remember to pick up the broken pieces carefully so that you do not cut yourself. You may also want to keep them in a reliable bag or box during transport, just in case more pieces break off the glass bottles or containers.

How to prepare glass

While you can recycle almost all kinds of normal glass, you still need to prepare it for the recycling process itself. This usually means that you simply have to rinse them out – especially if they were originally food or drink containers – but there are sometimes other important steps too.

For example, you should remove the labels from as many glass containers as possible. These can often be recycled separately, and keeping them on the glass only means that they will burn and let out CO2 during the melting process. It is much more efficient to simply tear them off.

Get rid of any lids, caps, or other non-glass components and pieces, too. You want your recycled glass to be all glass, not a mixture of materials.

How to recycle your glass

There are multiple ways to handle your glass before sending it off to get recycled, but the best option depends on where you are located and how much glass you need to deal with. Your local area may also have its own limits on what it can process.

Curbside Pickup

Some communities have a curbside option for glass collection, meaning that you can simply leave the glass out to be recycled. This is not always an available option, but it can be the most convenient way to recycle a lot of your glass all at once and does not take any real effort from you.

Curbside options are quite rare, so you should always check that your local community actually supports them. There may also be heavier restrictions on which kinds of glass you can recycle or even how much you can leave out at a single time.

Recycling Sites

You generally have the option of taking glass to your usual recycling collection points, although you should still check ahead to make sure that they accept glass. While this requires you to make the trip yourself, it is a good excuse to get rid of a lot of recyclable materials all at once.

These recycling trips do not usually take very long, but you should still load as much of your glass into your car as possible. The less glass you have left lying around, the less clutter will be left in your home – especially if that glass is broken glass.

Recycling Dumpster

Sometimes a dumpster rental (like an Eagle Dumpster Rental offering) can be the best way to handle a lot of recyclable materials all at once. Not all dumpsters are meant purely for non-recyclable materials, and you can always specify that a certain dumpster rental is for handling glass.

This gives you an easy way to recycle a lot of materials without having to leave your home, especially in the long term. If you have done major home renovations or clean-outs and have a lot of glass to get rid of, then you can always load it into a dumpster and forget about it.

Even better, if glass breaks in a dumpster, it will not become a hazard to anybody. The dumpster can contain it, meaning that there will not be glass shards all over your lawn.

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