Oftentimes after a job, we’re asked, “What do you with the extra glass…and can I have it?” The short answer: We throw it away. And yes, you can have it.
Due to the precise nature of the flat glass and storefront glass world, mistakes can happen from time to time. Sometimes, a general contractor will prepare the rough opening to the wrong size. we may measure incorrectly, or the glass will arrive with blemishes and will not meet Cypress Door & Glass’s high standards. Unfortunately, this leaves us with a piece of glass (or several pieces of glass) that cannot be used and wind up thrown into landfills, adding to the Earth’s overall trash problem.
Why Can’t Flat Glass Be Recycled?
While most people assume (as I did) that glass is glass and all forms can be recycled, this is only half true. Technically, flat glass can be recycled, but it’s more complicated than that.
There are many types of glass, and most have different chemical compositions. Almost all bottles are made from the same process, and therefore will break down the same in the glass recycling process. The process, handling, and even the recycler’s melting furnace temperature is dialed to accept glass bottles. The spread between flat glass and glass bottles is simply too great to mix together in the glass recycling process.
You also have to consider all of the possible variations in flat glass, such as tempered, bronze tint, annealed, float, heat-strengthened, laminate, wired, and plate glass. All of the different glass types are commonplace, and all of these glass types require a slightly different recycling method to fully break them down to a reusable material.
In other words, yes, flat glass can be recycled. However, the volume and need are not great enough to warrant recycling companies to re-tool their process to accept flat glass.
Are There Ways To Reuse Old Glass?
While glass doesn’t contribute to toxic waste, there are better options out there than adding piles of glass to our landfills. This is where your creativity comes in! If you’ve got an idea for how to reuse old glass that can’t be installed in your doors or windows, let us know. We might be able to make that vision come to life.
Cypress Door & Glass has two members of our team who decided to utilize an extra piece of tempered glass to build a bar in their dining room. Not only did they use the glass, but they refurbished the crate that the glass came in and used it as a base for the bar.
We’re very proud of our team, and this is a shining example of their resourcefulness. It feels great to do our part to help save the world.