How to Recycle Old Windows
Ideas for Recycling and Decorating With Old Windows
Most home maintenance and repair work is relatively simple. If there’s a draft in the room, you can seal the leak with caulk, and if a shingle is loose, all you need is a ladder, roofing cement and a good sense of balance. That said, the subject gets more complicated when windows are involved.
If you’ve decided to replace your old windows, you have to approach your task with a bit of finesse. After you’ve found new glass you think will fit well within your home, discarding the old glass isn’t as simple as tossing it in the bin. Homeowners have to adhere to a certain protocol for disposal.
There’s a lot you need to know about recycling old windows as there are many dos and don’ts when handling glass. If you don’t plan on donating the old glass, there are also plenty of DIY ideas to spruce up your home’s decor.
The Basics of Recycling Windows
Not all glass is fit for recycling. If there are segments of your old windows which are stained, soiled or pitted, you should separate them from the pile you intend to take to a facility. Any pieces you can’t clean of dirt, grime or residue don’t belong with the unblemished glass, and its essential you make that distinction.
You should also trash any pieces with cracks, chips or holes. To remove glass that isn’t recyclable, find protective eyewear, a thick towel, and a hammer. Wrap the towel around the glass, and lightly chip at it with the hammer, making sure to avoid sharp edges as you go about the work in an area free from distractions.
As you finish separating the glass, storing it a secure container, you’ll likely want to drive to your town’s recycling center. Unfortunately, few recycling centers accept glass windows, as the various subsets of glass window — tinted, tempered, safety, et cetera — can’t combine to create a new product.
Still, you have other options available.
Visit a Building Materials Reuse Center
The Building Materials Reuse Association might have a center nearby which will take your recycled windows. You can visit their website and navigate their directory, searching for salvage companies and organizations to sell your glass to. The price depends on its condition, but there’s a chance you’ll turn a small profit.
Donate to Nonprofit Organizations
Your local nonprofits might need building supplies, and through donating your old windows, you could potentially earn a tax write-off at the end of the year. Whether you reach out to Habitat for Humanity or contact art collectives in your area, either option is far better than taking your glass to a landfill.
Re-Purpose Old Windows for Art
In truth, you don’t have to discard your glass at all. If there’s a space in your home you feel could use a little something extra, you can take your old windows and use them to create beautiful, unique decorations. For homeowners with a creative side, the possibilities are endless, and we’ll detail three to get you started.
- If you have multiple windows and frames, hang them from the ceiling by chains to create a room divider.
- Place photos of family and friends within the panes of an old window to make a distinct collage.
- Remove the glass from the frame and replace it with mirrors, hanging it in the bathroom or bedroom.
Check out Pinterest to see if you find any decor which uses window glass, visualizing how it would feature within your living space. Explore what other artists and designers have done with frames and panes in the past, and if you come across something you like, try making it yourself. Just remember to stay safe!
Help Preserve the Environment
It’s wasteful to throw away old glass, and more than that, it’s harmful to the planet. Instead of contributing to a landfill, take some time to clean and separate your pieces, selling to reuse centers or donating to nonprofits. If you have the time and energy, see if one of the art projects we listed above is feasible.
Whatever you decide to do, you should feel a sense of pride knowing you’ve helped preserve the environment.