Recycling Mystery: Old Kitchen Glassware

Recycling Mystery: Old Kitchen Glassware

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You might have heard the phrase, “glass is infinitely recyclable.” So why isn’t kitchen glassware — consuming glasses, glass dishes, and glass bakeware — accepted by your native recycler?

Various components are used within the manufacture of kitchen glassware, which makes it rather more tough to recycle than widespread container glass. In reality, it’s so difficult that you just’re unlikely to discover a recycler that accepts it. Made from sand, glass is in larger demand than ever, rising at six p.c a 12 months, in line with the United Nations Environment Programme. Nevertheless amidst a growing sand shortage, glass collected by recycling packages has typically been floor right into a sand-like materials to be used as daily cover in landfills, changing soil as a substitute of being melted down for brand new merchandise and packaging.

Different Types of Glass

In your own home, you could have primarily two types of glass, soda-lime glass and borosilicate glass.

  • Soda-lime glass is utilized in every thing from jars to home windows. It’s the commonest sort of glass produced.
  • Borosilicate glass is a kind of glass that is ready to warmth and funky quickly with out breaking. It has many functions, however for residence use you’re in all probability most aware of it as bakeware, such because the previous Pyrex baking dish your mother used to make use of.

When it involves recycling glass, most U.S. recycling packages settle for soda-lime glass — inside limits. They usually settle for what’s known as container glass, corresponding to glass soda and beer bottles, wine bottles, and different glass meals containers you see on the grocery retailer.

And whereas we’re speaking about kinds of glass, coloured glass can also be a consideration. Recyclers will typically settle for a number of completely different colours of glass, however not all the colours chances are you’ll purchase. Glass producers use a lot of supplies to create coloured glass. If completely different colours of glass get recycled collectively, it diminishes the standard of the recycled product and loses its market worth. So, separating the in a different way coloured glass previous to recycling is an additional, costly step for recyclers.

Reuse Before Recycle

Before we leap to recycling, it’s necessary to notice that in case your glassware is in good situation, please don’t recycle it or throw it away. Give it to somebody who might use it. Most donation facilities settle for clear, unbroken glass cups and dishes. If you could have a whole set of cups or bakeware, chances are you’ll even be capable to promote it on Craigslist or at a neighborhood consignment retailer.

Can You Recycle Glass Cups or Bakeware?

The brief reply to this query: Not possible. Check along with your native recycling program to search out out if they’ve a program in place for kitchen glassware. Add your ZIP Code to this Earth911 Recycling Search for assist discovering glassware recyclers in your space.

While your glass cups and wine glasses are possible created from soda-lime glass, they aren’t recyclable in most locations. This is as a result of producers use components to regulate the glass for its meant function. You’ve in all probability observed that wine glasses break extra simply than a soda bottle or a pickle jar. This is as a result of the composition of the glass is barely completely different. Additives change the melting level of the glass. Container glass, in addition to glass utilized in meals jars and beverage bottles, share a typical melting level, making it simple to recycle collectively. This is why recycling packages generally settle for solely container glass.

Glass bakeware is manufactured to have a better melting level. Although older glass bakeware was manufactured from borosilicate glass — and far European bakeware nonetheless is — most U.S.-manufactured glass bakeware is now manufactured from tempered soda-lime-silica glass. But it doesn’t matter what your glass bakeware is manufactured from, if it’s combined in with container glass, it can contaminate the complete recycling batch because it gained’t soften on the identical temperature.

For this purpose, glass bakeware can’t be recycled with container glass. Because the lifespan of most glass dishes is so lengthy and the quantity of bakeware created from any such glass is so low, it isn’t potential for corporations to earn money recycling it, so there aren’t actually recycling packages on the market.

two broken glasses
Broken glass isn’t accepted for recycling even when it’s container glass, because it presents a hazard for staff who acquire your waste. Wrap it rigorously earlier than disposing within the trash. Image: Adobe Stock

How to Dispose of Broken Glassware

Even if it’s recyclable container-type glass, don’t put any broken glass in your recycling bin. Broken glass is a hazard to staff who acquire and kind your recyclables. So, the one possibility is to throw it away. Since it’s additionally a hazard to trash collectors, right here’s one of the best ways to deal with it:

  1. Wrap up the damaged glass in newspaper or material and place it inside a small cardboard field. Pour another small damaged glass contained in the field.
  2. Stuff any extra newspaper into the field so the glass can’t bounce round as simply.
  3. Tape the field closed securely and write “Broken Glass” on the skin.
  4. Throw the field into the trash bin.

One final thing, whereas this text focuses on kitchen glassware, please be aware that windows and glass doorways usually can’t be recycled in your metropolis recycling bin both. Because most home windows include plastic layers between sheets of glass, they’re typically not accepted for recycling. If they’re nonetheless in working situation, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore might settle for them, however do name first to substantiate. If you’ll be able to’t discover anybody all for reusing them, please get rid of them rigorously within the trash.

Editor’s Note: This article was initially printed on February 20, 2019, and was up to date in May 2024.