How to recycle glass, mirrors, and windows

A mother an Son looking through a new glass door after replacing the old broken glass

When disposing of glass, such as old windows or mirrors, it can be difficult to know what your options are and how to do it properly. Glass, like most other dangerous materials, needs to be disposed of with care to ensure it doesn’t do any harm to the environment or other people. The disposal method best suited for you will depend on a variety of factors, the two most important of which are the condition of the piece and the type of glass used in said item. 

After years of helping hundreds of families to get rid of unwanted items, our team of junk removal experts have created a guide to help you dispose of glass items in the best and less harmful way. We’re happy to help you learn more about how to safely recycle or dispose of mirrors, windows, and other types of glass.

A box with broken glass bottles ready to be disposed off

Is glass recyclable?

Yes, however, not all glass is recyclable. Glass that has been tinted or coated, such as most glass used in windows and mirrors, can not be recycled as well as glass that has cracks, discoloration, or imperfections, no matter how small. These types of glass are not suitable for recycling because the added tint or coatings and imperfections affect the melting temperature of the glass and possibly the chemical composition of the final recycled product. 

Unlike windows and mirrors, glass bottles and containers are highly recyclable and can be taken to any recycling facility for processing. These types of glass can actually be recycled indefinitely as their raw materials never break down during the recycling process.

Recyclable glass

Recyclable glass is primarily glass food and beverage containers with no cracks. The reason for this is most glass food/beverage containers do not contain contaminants that will affect their melting point or cause combustion upon processing. 

To tell if your container or bottle is recyclable you can always check the item for the universal recycling symbol with the number 70 in the center. If you find that your glass is recyclable make sure all the food or liquid that was held in the container is fully cleaned out before putting it in the recycling bin. Don’t worry about the label on the glass, but do make sure to remove the metal cap or cork before recycling. 

If you want to learn more about recycling, and how we at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? manage these types of materials, read more here.

Glass that cannot be recycled

As we said before, non-recyclable glass is any glass that has been treated, coated, tinted, or broken/cracked. The best examples of non-recyclable glass would be those found in mirrors or windows. To dispose of non-recyclable glass properly make sure to secure the glass with tape, bubble wrap, cardboard, or any other suitable alternative before placing it in the trash.

How to Dispose of Old or Broken Mirrors

Although the glass from mirrors is considered to be non-recyclable, there are plenty of organizations that will give your old mirror a new lease on life. If your mirror is not cracked or broken, consider donating it to a charitable organization of your choice. You can also make a little extra cash by putting your mirror up for sale on social media platforms, community message boards, or classified advertisement websites. For those who are not technologically inclined, you can also get rid of old mirrors by hosting a yard or garage sale. 

Before thinking about throwing out glass or any other materials, consider you might want to learn more about your carbon foortprint and use services like 1-800-GOT-JUNK? that will make sure your items are disposed of in the best way according to your local regulations.

A broken glass mirror ready to be disposed of

4 steps for disposing of large, broken, or regular-size mirrors

1. Dress For The Task

Disposing of glass can be dangerous especially if it is broken or cracked. Make sure to wear protective clothing such as a long sleeve shirt, closed-toed shoes, eye protection, and work gloves before handling it.  

2. Do Your Research 

Many trash removal companies have strict guidelines on how to dispose of glass properly so make sure to call or visit their website to find out how they would like you to properly dispose of your unwanted glass. For example, some waste disposal companies require glass, whether broken or not, to be placed in a cardboard box and labeled.

3. Wrap The Glass

This step might just be the most important in ensuring your safety as well as the safety of the waste disposal crew. Even if your glass is not cracked or broken it is vital to cover the glass before placing it very carefully beside the trash bin. If the glass is cracked, use tape to secure the pieces before placing them in a bag or box. If the glass is not broken, you should still cover it using an old blanket, bubble wrap, newspaper, or cardboard to ensure it does not break during disposal. 

4. Carefully Place Mirror Next To Bin

As previously mentioned, every trash removal service has different guidelines on how they would like glass disposed of so make sure to call or visit their website for specific information. Generally speaking, it is best to dispose of glass using a cardboard box. However, if one is not available to you, make sure to double bag the glass you wish to get rid of. Then, make sure to label the bag or box with an indicator for what is inside and then place the bag next to, not in, the trash so whoever comes to remove it can do so as safely as possible. 

How to Dispose of Glass Panes and Windows

Like mirrors, window glass panes are unfortunately not recyclable due to the coating used to produce them, but that doesn’t mean they have to go to the landfill. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity are always looking for new and used building materials to use in their charitable works. You can also follow the steps above to properly dispose of your glass panes or windows in the trash.

If you are in the middle of a home renovation or just about to start giving your home a fresh new look, find inspiration with these 7 home remodeling ideas!

A box containing broken glass pieces taken away by a junk removal team

Glass Disposal with 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

Choosing whether to dispose of or recycle old glass can be difficult, the option that is right for you will depend on the condition of the glass and the type of glass used. The glass used in windows and mirrors is considered non-recyclable due to the coating and tinting used to protect from UV rays as well as variable weather. For these items it is best to dispose of them safely or donate them to a charitable organization. Glass food containers such as jars and bottles, on the other hand, are 100% recyclable and can be placed in the recycling bin as long as they do not have cracks.

If you have a large amount of glass that needs to be disposed of, consider reaching out to a junk removal service such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. We will send out our highly experienced team to safely dispose of your unwanted glass and take it to the proper facilities or the donation center of your choice. Concerned about the cost? Don’t be, we will do a free no-obligation estimate so that you can make an informed decision. For more detailed information about pricing visit our pricing page and our Glass Removal services.


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