How to Recycle Glass: A Step-by-Step Guide

recycling glass in a dumpster glass recycling bin

Believe it or not, you probably use a lot more glass than you think! Just take a look in your pantry and fridge – we bet you’ll find many recyclable items hiding in plain sight. Recycling just one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 whole hours. That’s right – by doing your part and recycling your glass items, you’re not only helping the planet, but you’re also conserving energy, reducing emissions and contributing to the infinite recyclability of glass! 

So next time you’re in the mood for a refreshing glass beverage, remember to give that glass a second life by tossing it in the purple bin. Every bottle counts! 

How to Recycle Glass in Four Steps

Glass is an incredible material – it can be recycled forever without losing quality. It’s sad when glass ends up in a landfill because it could have been something new and could have been recycled infinitely! 

Unlike other materials that require complex preparation before recycling, glass can be recycled just as it is. We literally do the dirty work for you! That means labels and lids can stay on, containers can have leftover residue, and nearly any shape or size is accepted. 

Dive into the world of glass recycling with our simple four-step process: 

 Step 1: Gather Up Your Glass 

First things first, start by gathering up all the glass you can find. Ripple Glass accepts all colors of food and beverage glass. Labels can be left on, and if the glass is transparent, it is likely recyclable.

Windows, shower doors or glass tabletops may be accepted if frames, bases and hardware are removed. Just make sure they fit through the 3’x3′ windows on the purple bins. And no need to separate your glass by color! You can mix brown, green, blue and clear containers all together. 

Step 2: Store Your Collection 

Once you’ve amassed your glass collection, find a spot at home to store them. A garage corner, under the sink – convenience is key. Our durable home bins make this step a breeze, but feel free to repurpose a cardboard box or even a plastic kitty litter box. Anything will do!

But remember, don’t accidentally toss your storage container into the purple bin. That’s the main thing we want to avoid – it slows down the recycling process. 

Step 3: Drop It Like It’s Hot (But in a Purple Bin) 

Once you’ve gathered up your glass, it’s time to show up at your nearest Ripple Glass bin. All Ripple Glass bins are open to the public and free to use. And they’re usually pretty close to each other. Easy and convenient! 

Step 4: Glass Gets a New Life 

You’ve done your part, and now it’s our turn! Once your glass finds its way to the Ripple Glass processing facility, the magic unfolds.

The glass undergoes a meticulous cleaning and sorting process, ensuring purity and quality. Brown glass, distinctive as amber, is separated out and transformed into 2-inch pieces destined to become new beer bottles.

Meanwhile, clear and colored glass is crushed into a coarse sand-like consistency and embarks on a journey to a fiberglass insulation manufacturer. There, it contributes to the creation of eco-friendly fiberglass insulation!  

What Kind of Glass Can Be Recycled? 

When it comes to glass, we’re all about clarity – quite literally. Clear, brown and green glass are recycling winners, but not all glass is created equal. Unfortunately, ceramics, Pyrex and other non-recyclable glass varieties need a different home.

Keep an eye out for what’s accepted and what’s not to give your glass items the sustainable second act they deserve.

Accepted Items:glass recycling bin long purple dumpster

✔  Glass Food and Beverage Containers: Say goodbye to those empty salsa jars or the remnants of last night’s sparkling water. All colors are welcome, and guess what? You can keep those labels on; we’re not picky. 

✔  Drinking Vessels: Whether you’re sipping from a pint glass, wine glass or your favorite mason jar, every toast can be an eco-friendly celebration.  

✔  Candle Jars: Had a cozy night in with your favorite scented candle? Don’t toss that jar; we’ll take it, wax remnants and all.  

✔  Cosmetic Bottles/Jars: Beauty lovers, you’re emptied-out cosmetic containers are recyclable too.  

✔   Windows, Shower Doors, Tabletops: Renovating your space? Recycle those old windows, shower doors and even tabletops (just remember to remove the frames and hardware).  

Not Accepted Items:  

✘  Cardboard, Boxes, Trash Bags: Sorry, cardboard lovers; this one’s strictly for the glass.  

✘  Porcelain, Ceramic, Milk Glass, China/Leaded Glass: Beautiful as they may be, these delicate items can’t join the glass recycling party.  

✘  Mirrors: Mirror, mirror on the wall, you’re not invited to the recycling haul.  

✘  Laminated Glass/Windshields: Keep your car glass out of the purple bin; it’s a no-go.  

✘  Pyrex, Corningware: These kitchen companions need a different destination. 

✘  Dishware (i.e., Corelle): Your plates and bowls should stick to their own dinner plans – no recycling rendezvous here.  

✘  Light Bulbs, TVs: Let’s keep the electronics and illuminating devices out of the glass recycling game. 

Tips for Encouraging Glass Recycling

It’s time to level up your glass recycling game with these awesome hacks: 

  • Create a Designated Spot: Discover the perfect spot for your glassware in your home (think garage, closet or pantry) to avoid any confusion. The same goes for your office or business – make sure there’s a special place to collect glass. 
  • Don’t Rely on Memory Alone: Print off our handy “What Can I Recycle” flyer and stick it on the bin or box in your home or office. This will serve as a helpful reminder of what can be recycled and what should be left out. 
  • Find Your Nearest Purple Bin: And spread the word! Share the awesomeness of glass recycling with friends and family – it’s incredibly easy, and you’ll be the hero at parties and gatherings when you step up to recycle glass. 

Now that you’re all pumped up to embark on your glass recycling journey, let’s explore some fun and effective ways to get your community on board:thumbs up guy image

  • Reach Out to Your Neighbors: Recycling is not just an individual effort; it’s a community affair. Organize neighborhood events that make recycling a celebration. How about a glass recycling block party? Get the community together to share tips, experiences and maybe a few recycling success stories over a BBQ. 
  • Advocate for Recycling Programs: Become the recycling captain of your neighborhood by advocating for stronger recycling programs. Start by sharing your own success stories on social media – a pic of your recycling bin could inspire others to follow suit. And don’t hesitate to reach out to your local council members or city officials to express your interest in increasing opportunities to recycle glass in your community! 
  • Educate Others: Educating others about the wonders of glass recycling doesn’t have to be a snooze-fest. Share the journey of a glass bottle from the purple bin to the recycling plant, and throw in some fun facts – did you know that recycled glass can be turned into a new bottle in just a few weeks? 
  • Book a Speaker: Looking for a Ripple Glass speaker to inspire sustainability in your business or school? We’re on a mission to promote glass recycling – just reach out to us at, and let’s create ripples of positive change together. 

How to Find a Purple BinRipple Glass Tote Bin for Glass Collection Image How to recycle glass

Ready to do your part for the planet? We believe recycling should be as easy as snapping your fingers.

That’s why we’ve made it super simple and totally free for you to bring your glass containers to any of our purple bin locations in cities across the nation. Check out our handy map for exact addresses and directions.