Glass is an amazing material. It’s made from readily available natural resources and can be recycled endlessly. It can be used as a container for holding food, liquids, and other materials and can be found throughout our lives, whether it’s a smart phone, windows at home, a drinking glass or a jar of jam. When glass is recycled it reduces emissions, saves energy, and conserves natural resources compared to using raw materials. But did you know- not all glass can be recycled in your local recycling program? Just because something is glass does not mean it can go in your home recycling bin!

What glass should I be putting in the recycling bin?
The only glass you should be putting in the recycling bin are glass bottles and jars. All other glass, ceramics, or pottery cannot go in your local recycling program. This includes but is not limited to plates, cups, flower pots, drinking glasses, mugs, light bulbs, wine glasses, mugs, mirrors, window pane, broken glass, cooking/ baking glass (measuring cups, pie plates, casserole dishes, mixing bowls), glass home décor, flower vases and more. Only container glass such as bottles and jars belong in your recycling bin!

How come I can only put glass bottles and jars in the recycling bin?
Drinking glasses, flower vases, mirrors etc. have a different melting point and chemical composition than bottles and jars. If these materials are mixed with glass from bottles and jars it can contaminate glass recycling or weaken recycled glass which hurts recycling programs.

Then what can I do with glass that is not a bottle or jar?
Don’t contaminate, reuse, up-cycle or donate! Gently used glass, ceramic, and pottery items like drinking glasses, dinner plates, bowls, casserole dishes, pie plates, mirrors, and other glass home goods can be donated to charitable organizations, thrift shops, and other people who can use them. Also consider reuse! Teacups make nice planters for succulents, cups and bowls can be used for pet food and other containers, and a dull terracotta flower pot can make a thoughtful gift with a little paint and creativity. If your items cannot be donated or reused, carefully dispose of them in the trash- and remember, no broken glass should ever go in your recycling bin either.

What about glass bottles with a deposit on them?
Some glass beverage bottles are part of NY’s Returnable Container Act (also known as the Bottle Bill) and have a deposit associated with them. These glass bottles can be returned for recycling at local redemption centers. Because Bottle Bill glass is generally cleaner and is already separated it makes glass recycling more efficient, making it easier for your glass to be turned into things like new bottles or home insulation. This glass is also recycled at no cost to local governments. NY’s Bottle Bill has reduced littler by 70% and has encouraged the recycling of billions of beverage containers. For a list of containers that can go in these programs visit:

Glass Recycling and Reuse Quick Tips

Is it a bottle or jar? It can go in your recycling bin for your curbside program, transfer station or other local drop-off program. And remember- many beverage bottles are accepted in NY’s Bottle Bill deposit programs that are good for recycling!

  • Not a bottle or a jar? Don’t contaminate the bin, reuse, up-cycle or donate.
  • Not in condition to donate or reuse? Carefully dispose of in the trash.
  • Broken glass? Whether a bottle or jar or not, no broken glass should ever go in your recycling bin.