Recycling glass is a fairly simple task — put it in your recycling bin or take it to the nearest recycling center
. However, not all glass can be recycled for various reasons. The most coveted type is clear glass, but mixed-color glass is not as valuable and broken glass is too difficult to sort.
Understanding which types of glass can’t be recycled keeps your local recycling center running efficiently and prevents contamination in the recycling process. Although certain types are forbidden from being repurposed, there are some creative reuse projects for these items.
When sorting your garbage, keep in mind that the following cannot be recycled:
- Broken glass
- Laboratory glass
- Window glass
- Cookware glass such as Pyrex products
- Light bulbs (with the exception of fluorescent tubes)
For broken glass, it’s wise to handle it with caution and use rubber gloves. If you’re going to throw it away, make sure to wrap it in newspaper or old shirts or towels and seal the contents in a plastic or paper bag.
An alternative option is to try and reuse this trash and turn it into treasure. One inexpensive way to make broken glass reusable is to put it into an old-fashioned rock tumbler
— you may remember these from your youth. This process can take a while, but it produces frosted glass as well as clear, smooth glass that can be handled. Then you can incorporate the smooth-edged glass in wall, floor or table mosaics
, or try designing glass sculptures and candleholders. By reusing your leftover paint, the glass can be any color you like.
might not be for you, so you can collect any non-recyclable glass and find a local artist or glass blower who can reuse it more effectively. These types of glass may be unwanted and challenging to handle, but you can reclaim their potential by turning the broken pieces into beautiful décor and artwork.