Did you know that a glass bottle in your recycling can become a new glass bottle on a store shelf in as little as 30 days? Other uses for recycled glass include fiberglass, abrasives, countertops, aggregate, brick and concrete, and as beads in reflective highway paint.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 Waste Characterization Study, 9.3 million tons of glass containers were generated nationwide but only a little over three million tons were recycled.
Not all glass is created equal, and while it is important to recycle glass, it is even more important to recycle the correct types of glass. Whether you recycle glass in your curbside cart or at the Framingham Recycling Center, please remember these guidelines:
- Only glass bottles and jars are acceptable – if it was a food or beverage container, then it belongs in the Framingham recycling program. All colors and sizes of glass bottles and jars are acceptable.
- Lids, labels, and caps – may be taken off or left on.
- Rinse your containers to eliminate food particles or oil residue. This doesn’t have to be a major chore, just give your container a few quick rinses in soapy water or put them in the dishwasher if you have space. This will cut down on odors, help keep pests away, and improve the quality of our recycling.
- Do NOT include these items in the recycling: aquariums, auto glass, baking dishes, ceramics (figurines, dishes, mugs), crystal, drinking glasses, eyeglasses, light bulbs, mirrors, picture frames, vases, windows.
Why can’t you put that cracked mirror or set of plates you don’t want in the recycling? These items on the ‘no’ list have different chemical compositions, and contaminate the glass container recycling stream.
If you have items that are still in usable condition, donate them to a reuse store. Eyeglasses may also be donated (look for Lions Club donation boxes or bring them to the Recycling Center).
Certain glass items must be handled responsibly; fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury and must be recycled (bring them to the Recycling Center) and windows must be taken to an appropriate construction and demolition (C&D) acceptance facility.
Most of these other 'no' items can be discarded, but if in doubt, contact the Solid Waste Division at 508-532-6001 or email@example.com.
Before you recycle your glass containers, consider their reuse value to hold snacks, yogurt, leftovers, drinks, dried bulk foods, or to store office and craft supplies or small building materials like nails. Check out this DIY project on creating a magnetic spice rack out of canning jars, a project that would likely be just as successful with empty baby food or small jam jars: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-a-wallmounted-magn-101525
If you’re not sure what to do about glass items that you no longer have a use for,
contact the Solid Waste Division before you toss them in a recycling container:
508-532-6001; firstname.lastname@example.org, or ask anyone wearing a Public Works vest at the Recycling Center (255 Mt.Wayte Ave).