Dear Recyclebank: I was told that only glass that contained food was recyclable. What about vases, window glass, and drinking glasses? –Susan
Dear Susan: The issue with things like kitchen glassware and windows isn’t what they hold, it’s what they’re made of. Glass can be produced with a variety of formulas and processes for different purposes. The glass used in food packaging is generally soda-lime glass, but kitchenware, for example, can be made with borosilicate for use with extreme temperature changes. Likewise, window glass is produced differently for durability. Unfortunately, these kinds of glass all have different melting points, meaning they can’t usually be processed for recycling together without the risk of them damaging equipment or contaminating each other and compromising the structural integrity of the recycled glass — and after all, you wouldn’t want a recycled drinking glass to crumble in your hands.
This doesn’t mean all of those other types of glass aren’t recyclable at all, but that they’re usually not all accepted together in a curbside recycling program — if your hauler accepts glass for recycling, they most likely stick to accepting glass bottles and jars that held food and drink. So what can you do with non-container glass? As always, reusing is a smart choice if your old glasses, vases, and dishes are in good shape. Donate them to charity or a thrift store, or pass them on to family and friends who may want them. Window glass can also be reclaimed and reused by businesses or charities; the Building Materials Reuse Association business directory includes construction and salvage companies that may be interested.