Glass is a common material used in the construction of greenhouses, and it can contain a lot of glass in its structure. When you need to replace glass panels in your greenhouse, you will be left with a pile of plate glass that you need to dispose of. What is the best and right way to dispose of your greenhouse glass?
Greenhouse glass is recyclable, but you cannot place it in normal recycling collection bins. To recycle this glass, drop it off at a recycling facility or arrange for its collection by the facility, which they may charge a fee for. You can also re-purpose the glass yourself for other projects.
Greenhouses require maintenance from time to time, which includes replacing broken or cracked glass panels from the structure. Once the maintenance job is done, you are left with the waste glass that needs to be disposed of. Plate glass is not allowed in recycling bins, but there are other means of recycling your greenhouse glass that you may be interested in.
Why Recycle Bins Don’t Accept Sheet Glass
Recycling collection points where there are bins for each type of recyclable material, including glass, paper, plastic, and metal, do not allow sheet glass or plate glass to be placed in the glass recycling bin.
You may wonder why this is since we are constantly being asked to recycle all our waste glass. The main reason for the ban of sheet glass being deposited in the recycling bins is one of safety. Sheet glass is more likely to break in such a bin, and this poses a safety risk for the workers who will sort through the glass at the recycling facility.
There is a need to sort through the glass from the bins because people do not always dump the correct items in the right bin, and the glass bin may contain paper, plastic, and metal, which must be removed before the glass can be recycled.
Window glass or sheet glass is also difficult to recycle because it is made with a different formula from normal glass jars. While it is recyclable, the recycling process is different, which is why this glass needs to be separated out from other forms of glass before the glass can undergo the recycling process.
Many recycling facilities are not accepting glass at all because it has become less profitable to recycle glass, and the weight of the glass makes it difficult to transport from recycling collection points. This has once again led to unwanted glass being dumped in landfills.
For these reasons, sheet glass such as windowpanes from your home, greenhouse glass, and other forms of sheet glass are not accepted at collection point bins.
Here’s a video showing the glass recycling process for windshields so you can see how involved it can get:
How To Dispose Of Your Greenhouse Glass
So, if you cannot drop off your waste greenhouse glass at a recycling collection point, what options are open to you for disposing of this glass correctly?
Other than wrapping your glass and placing it in your normal trash to go to a landfill, how can you dispose of your greenhouse glass the right way?
Here are some suggestions on how to deal with waste sheet glass.
Contact A Local Glass Recycling Service
Most large urban centers will have a number of recycling service companies that specialize in recycling glass. Many of these companies will be willing to collect your waste glass from you for a small fee for the collection and removal service.
They will take the glass back to their facility, where it will be cleaned, sorted, and recycled. Another alternative is for you to deliver the glass to the facility yourself.
If you can safely load the glass into your vehicle and transport it to the recycling service facility, then there would be no fee attached, and the glass will be taken off your hands. If you are going to load glass into your vehicle, always have safety in mind and wear thick protective gloves so that you do not get cut.
The glass needs to be transported in your vehicle in a manner that will not pose a hazard to anyone in the vehicle or any other road user.
Here’s a cool video showing a winery turning glass bottles into sand:
Contact A Building Material Reuse Center
There are companies that specialize in re-using old building material by cleaning it up and re-using it or re-purposing it for other things.
Companies such as this would be willing you take your old greenhouse glass, provided that it is not badly broken.
Glass panels that are cracked, chipped, or slightly broken can be re-cut to different sizes and used in other building projects. A building material re-use center may even offer you a small amount of money for your waste glass.
Use An Online Glass Exchange Program
If you do an online search for a sheet or plate glass exchange program, you can find out if the glass you have available is something that companies will pay you for, and it will also notify you of any such programs that are located in your area.
Many of these companies will pay you a small fee for your waste glass if it is in good condition or if it is in demand in your area.
Freecycle The Glass
Have you come across the old phrase that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? There is a new term for this, and it has gone online. The term is “freecycle,” and there are many community websites that offer this service to their towns.
The idea is that if you have an item that you no longer want, you offer it for free on a freecycle website, and someone who is interested in your unwanted goods can come and collect it from you for free.
There are many of these sites available, and in some locations, people are giving away complete greenhouses that they no longer want, or they moved into a new house and didn’t want the greenhouse.
Advertising your unwanted glass on a site such as this will allow your glass to be re-purposed and re-used by someone else.
If your glass is damaged, you can still advertise it, making a note that it is damaged but could be cut and used for a different purpose.
Many artists who use glass as a medium or incorporate glass into their work look for such items to use in their pieces. People who make stained glass lamps and glass panels would also be interested in sourcing glass from you, even if it is broken.
Re-purpose The Glass Yourself
Re-purposing the glass yourself is another option to dispose of your unwanted greenhouse glass. There are many craft projects that you could undertake that could use the glass that you would normally have no use for.
Glass fragments can be incorporated into a tile mosaic tabletop of an outdoor table, used to make candle holders, incorporated into stained glass designs, and used to decorate various types of artwork.
There are many ideas online for ways in which you can use waste glass in various types of crafts and hobbies.
Put It In The Trash As A Last Resort
If none of these suggestions work for you, then as a last resort, you can dispose of the glass in the trash. You need to be aware that this glass will go to a landfill somewhere, and you will need to prepare it for the trash properly.
The best way to prepare the glass for the trash is to wrap it up in a cloth and smash it into small pieces with a hammer. Be sure to wear eye protection and thick work gloves when you are doing work like this.
Once the glass is smashed, place it in a cardboard box and tape it closed, and mark it as broken glass. The box can then be placed in your normal curbside trash for collection.
Disposing of the glass this way ensures that anyone involved in the process of the trash collection in your neighborhood will not be injured by any broken glass when your trash is collected and processed.
Greenhouse glass can be a little challenging to dispose of or to recycle, especially if your local recycling service does not accept this type of glass.
However, with a little ingenuity combined with the power of the internet, it is certainly possible to find a use for it or someone who has need of it, rather than simply throwing it in the trash.