How to Recycle Glass

An Overview on Recycling Glass

Do you have a pile of miscellaneous glass items sitting in your garage waiting for recycling? Regardless of which glass recycling mystery you’re trying to solve, with our Ecolife guide to recycling glass, you’ll know exactly where and how to recycle your glass so you can stop staring at those old glass bottles and used glass jars.

Prepare glass for recycling

Regardless of what you’re recycling, there are a few basics you should remember:

  • Remove any contaminants such as metal, plastic, or rubber.
  • Clean the glass of dirt, food, and other debris.
  • Sort glass by color and type, depending on your curbside requirements.
  • Set aside glass items that do not go in your curbside bin and follow directions below for ideas on how to recycle hard-to-recycle glass items.

How to recycle glass of all types

Once your glass is ready for recycling, you’ll need to know where to send it. These glass recycling basics should have you seeing your way to complete glass recycling in no time:

  • Secondhand shops: Some nonprofit organizations will collect used furnishings and building materials made of glass for sale in their shops. See whether an organization like this will pick up your used items. Thrift shops will also take used crockery, glass cookware, ceramic dishes and mugs, and used glasses and goblets. Reuse is always better than recycling!
  • Curbside recycling: Your best option for recycling glass is to put it out with the rest of your curbside recycling (tin cans, plastics, composting, etc). Just be sure to check with your curbside recycling office to find out what glass can be recycled, how to recycle glass using your recycling bin, and whether you need to separate colored glass from clear glass.
  • Drop off recycling centers: Next, if you have some glass that cannot go in your curbside recycling bin (such as brown glass beer bottles or green glass water bottles), look for recycling drop-off centers or bottle depots in your area. These will often give you money for turning in glass for which you paid a deposit (like wine and soda bottles). They may also accept non-deposit glass containers. Search online for “glass recycler” or “recycling glass” with your city or town name to find glass recycling services in your area or look through our recycling database for some national resources.
  • Local landfill: Sometimes hard to recycle glass like windows and broken glass can be recycled with your local landfill. Give them a call to find out if they are willing to accept such material.
  • Artists guilds: You may find an artists guild in your area that could use your hard to recycle glass items such as blue glass bottles, old windows, or broken pieces. Call around to find out whether you can drop off your glass for them to reuse in creative and interesting ways.
  • Antique shops: If you’ve got architectural pieces made with glass, such as antique window frames with glass or an interesting piece of furniture, look to your local antique shop. Even if you can’t sell it to them, you can give it away knowing that at least it won’t end up in the landfill.

Ideas for reusing glass

  • Make a cold frame from used windows to grow food year round.
  • Use old ceramics to make cake stands and other serving dishes.
  • Broken pottery can be used as mulch in potted plants and gardens.
  • Use broken ceramics and mirror pieces to create mosaic pots, tables, and more.
  • Recycling glass bottles is easy if you make your own beer or wine - just reuse the bottles!
  • Use glass jam jars and pickle jars for storing dry goods in your pantry.
  • Reuse preserve jars for preserving food from your garden or your local farmers market.


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