There is a common misconception that everything made of glass is recyclable. While glass is a highly re-usable material, it can only be remanufactured when it is sent to the appropriate processing facility. In other words, not all recyclers can recycle all types of glass. There are specialists.
In Fort Lauderdale, we accept a great variety of glass for recycling. However, the following types of glass are not accepted in our blue carts or public space containers.
- Dishware and figurines of glass, ceramic, and porcelain
- Crystal and stemware, and all drinkware
- Glass from windows, automobiles, mirrors, picture frames and table tops
- Monitors and screens of any type
- Magnifying glass, eyewear and marbles
- Most light bulbs
Unbroken glass that cannot be recycled but is no longer useful to you should be donated to the charity, school or other organization of your choice. This particularly applies to dishware, decorative glass, and construction parts. Charities, second hand stores, schools, community organizations and construction suppliers will accept most of these items and put them to good use. Artists will also often accept used glass, especially colored glass items.
Broken glass should be securely wrapped to prevent injury, and may be discarded in the garbage. This is because broken glass is not easily recyclable. It is nearly impossible to separate the various types and colors of broken glass to ensure that recycling would produce a quality glass product. Therefore it is not economical and most material recovery processing plants will not accept broken glass.
Why can't all glass be recycled? The primary reason is that most forms of glass, excepting those that are used for food and beverage and cosmetic containers, are treated with chemicals and they have a different melting point than bottles and jars. For example, the chemicals that improve the safety and durability of a car windshield, are the same ones that make disposal and recycling difficult. Your best option is to donate old, unwanted glass and glass products that are not recyclable.