5 types of glass that aren't recyclable
We love glass, but not all of it can be recycled.
1. Frosted Glass
It's gorgeous and sexy, but sadly not recyclable. Quite a few eco brands aren't aware of this and continue to use it thinking it is. How is it "frosted?" It's treated with chemicals, chemicals that also contaminate the recycling stream, hence making it non-recyclable.
2. Pyrex & Ceramics
Durable, lovable, but not recyclable. Pyrex and ceramics have different chemical properties and are created to withstand high heat. They cannot be placed in your curbside recycling bin. They can be donated! If broken, see broken glass best practice below.
3. Broken Glass
We've all been here and picked up the pieces, but they can't be placed in the recycling bin. In an effort to protect the amazing sanitization workers who sort our refuse, please put all broken glass in a cardboard box, seal it, and write broken glass on it and place in trash.
4. Light Bulbs
Fluorescent (CFL) and LED light bulbs are hazardous waste - never put in trash or recycling. They have to be dropped off at your local resource recovery center/hazardous waste drop off site. Halogen light bulbs cannot be recycled either, place in trash. Incandescent light bulbs are also not recyclable and need to placed in the trash as well.
Safety first! If you break a fluorescent light bulb, air out the house to get rid of mercury vapor. Do not touch the bulb with your bare hands or use a vacuum to suck up glass shards - this disperses mercury in the air. Use a piece of tape - the stickiness will pick up the glass and mercury. LED light bulbs contain lead and arsenic, do not touch with bare hands if broken. You can store broken Fluorescent, LED lights and anything you used to clean it up (like the tape) in a plastic container and drop off to hazardous waste. Halogen lights also release mercury vapor when broken - follow same safety practices as above (broken halogen lights can be wrapped in newspaper and placed in the trash bin).
If you are unsure what kind of bulb you have, best not to guess and just dispose of properly as hazardous waste - not in your trash or recycling.
They have a higher melting point than other glass recyclables and cannot be recycled. You can donate them! If the mirror is broken, handle like you would all broken glass - with the safety of others as your top priority. Bag it, box it, seal it, label it, place in trash.
Pro Tips: When recycling, keep your materials clean, empty and loose (don't put your recycling in a bag). When in doubt about wether or not something is recyclable, figure it out! If you can't figure it out for whatever reason, then throw it out. "Wish-cycling" - putting something in the blue bin and hoping it will be recycled contaminates the recycling stream and prevents actual recyclable items from being recycled.