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Frequently Asked Questions: Glass Recycling

Q: Can glass be recycled?
A: Glass alone makes up 5% of garbage in the U.S. It's a shame if any glass container uses up landfill space because glass lasts forever. The long-lasting nature of glass also means that glass can be recycled forever. It never wears out as a raw material, so old bottles and jars can be remanufactured into new glass containers over and over and over again.

Recycling glass saves other resources in addition to landfill space. For example, every ton of glass recycled saves 1330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda, 433 pounds of limestone, and 151 pounds of feldspar that would be needed to create new glass. In addition, recycling just one glass bottle saves enough energy from the manufacturing process to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.

In the Stanford recycling program, glass food and beverage containers can be placed in the bottle and can recycling bin along with aluminum and steel cans and plastic containers. Preparation is minimal. Please scrap glass containers free of food debris, but you need not run them through the dishwasher. Although the lid can be recycled with the glass, it should be removed from the jar. It is not necessary to remove the labels.

Glass has been recycled for almost 3,000 years. Be a part of this history by recycling your glass bottles and jars today!

Q: Can all glass be recycled?
A: Different types of glass have different melting points. Some glass is made to withstand high temperatures, while others are made to hold cold drinks. We only accept beverage and food bottles and jars. No glass vases, glass drinking cups, window glass, Pyrex, lab glass or test tubes.

Q: Can lab glass be recycled?
A: The brown glass bottles can be recycled while test tubes and other lab glass cannot. You are welcome to call us to double check if a product is recyclable or not. Before you recycle your bottles, please be sure that your bottles are truely empty by following the Empty Container Tree found on the EHS website:

Q: What do I do with burned out lightbulbs?
A: Incandescent lightbulbs should be wrapped in paper (to protect the garbage collector) and placed in the garbage. They are not recyclable.  Compact Florescent Lighbulbs (CFLs) are considered hazardous waste upon disposal and must be recycled/disposed through a household hazardous waste program. They may not be landfilled.  If you are a resident on campus, you can recycle CFL's through our Residential Universal Waste Program.  If you are a student living on campus, please see your housing supervisor for disposal options.

Q: What do I do with broken drinking glasses?
A: Glass beverage and food bottles and jars are the only types of glass accepted in the Stanford Recycling Program including the the Stanford Recycling Drop-Off Center. Frosted glass, plate glass, Pyrex, mirrors, and ceramics should not be placed in the glass bins. These are very serious contaminants and can cause our whole load of glass to be rejected.

Q: Can I recycle the glass from my broken window?
A: Unfortunately broken window glass (and drinking glasses, plates, mirrors) are not recyclable in our program. These types of glass have a different melting temperature than beverage and food glass containers. Please wrap non-beverage and food glass in newspaper or plastic bags and place in your garbage can.