Now that you’re an eco-champion, you’re thinking twice about everything you’re tossing in the trash. You’re also keeping your wish-cycling in check by verifying with a quick internet search about the recyclability of that one-off piece of debris. Bravo!
We’re glad you double-checked before putting that broken champagne flute in the recycling bin. Because, no, broken glass is not recyclable.
Read on to learn why broken glass is not recyclable. We’ll also give you upcycling ideas for broken glass and tell you the best way to dispose of broken glass. And don’t forget to cement your status as eco-champion extraordinaire by buying recycling bags.
Why You Can’t Recycle Broken Glass
You can’t recycle broken glass for the same reason you usher the dog and young children out of the area where shards pose a menace. Broken glass is dangerous to employees at recycling facilities.
When your recycling arrives at the single-stream processing plant, all of your mixed recyclables are unloaded onto conveyor belts. Unfortunately, about 25 percent of what arrives at the recycling facility is not recyclable. Employees must sort through the debris to manually remove everything from plastic garbage bags to used diapers.
Broken glass compounds the risks of an already dangerous job. Recycling workers are under threat in “unnecessarily hazardous” work. Employees at a recycling facility are twice as likely to suffer an injury. Manually sorting through recyclables contaminated with dangerous items, like shards of glass, compounds their risks. And that’s why you should discard your broken glass using heavy-duty bags.
Source: Dane Gillett/Shutterstock.com
Upcycling Ideas for Broken Glass that Are Totally Doable
We’ve gathered the most non-intimidating craft projects using broken glass. For these broken glass upcycling ideas, all you need are some thick rubber gloves, a rock tumbler and basic crafting supplies. You’ll keep your broken glass out of the landfill and have an artsy new decoration to boot.
Use a Rock Tumbler to Make Sea Glass
Check out this project at Crafting a Green World. Using a rock tumbler, you can smooth out the rough edges of your shards of broken glass. Then, you can use your “sea glass” in endless craft projects.
Make a Votive Candle Holder
Your broken glass pieces are great for creating a soft glow from the light of a battery-powered candle. This project will show you how to safely make a votive holder using broken glass. You get bonus eco-points if you use rechargeable electric votives.
Make Stained Glass Art
Create a cool, 3-D art piece to hang on your wall or window using broken glass. This project works great with colored pieces of broken glass. It may take time to collect enough broken glass to make this stunning piece. Try asking your friends or family to save their broken glass pieces.
Source: Tapati Rinchumrus/Shutterstock.com
Dispose of Broken Glass Properly
Maybe crafting isn’t your thing or the shards from your broken champagne flute are too thin to make anything worthwhile. In that case, you should dispose of your broken glass in the trash. But don’t just toss it in the bag. Broken glass is a common cause of injury for garbage collectors.
It’s best to put your broken glass in a cardboard box and tape the box closed. If you don’t have a box available, then wrap the broken glass pieces in the newspaper. Then put the bundle in a paper grocery bag. Staple or tape the bag closed. Once your broken glass is safely contained, you can throw it in black garbage bags.
Order Black Garbage Bags Today
Keep Up the Good Green Habits
Don’t be bummed that your broken glass isn’t recyclable. You’re doing your part to make sure recycling remains a viable business and a safe place to work. Recycling as much as you can and keeping non-recyclable items out of the blue bin is a great way to fight climate change.