A really old glass window
August 27th 2020

How to Recycle Glass from Old Doors & Windows

Perhaps you’ve detected some of the crucial signs that you need a door/window replacement – like having condensation between glass panes, having cracks on the glass, getting more drafty air in the house, seeing warping frames, and getting more noise from the outside. If you see one or more of these signs, it’s definitely time for a replacement.

After the matter of having the replacement window or door is settled, the old window or door needs to be disposed of. So how does one properly dispose of a door or window? Are there components that can be recycled? Can one recycle window glass or door glass?

This article will cover all you need to know from a few basics on Canadian recycling to steps on how to recycle glass.

Let’s get started!

Broken window glass

How Does Recycling Work in Canada?

When we think of recycling, we may see a unified recycling plant where all our recyclables go. However, different items are processed under different recycling programs that Canada’s provinces have.

With that said, the capacity to recycle also varies per province. For example, there may be various recycling programs for agricultural products in Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba and so on but none (yet) for the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon.

Can The Glass on Windows or Doors Be Recycled Along With Glass Jars in the Blue Bin?

The short answer to this question is no. Glass on windows or doors cannot be recycled the same way as glass containers for food and beverage. And here’s why:

What most people count as recycling is what’s known as tertiary recycling, meaning that the item has been physically or chemically reprocessed by melting or chemical treatment. This is what most recycling programs do to materials like paper, plastic, and glass. Let’s zoom in on recycling glass.

Typically, glass containers for food and beverage are taken from the blue bin, sorted by colour, washed to be rid of impurities, then crushed and melted. They can then be moulded into new glass products. Glass like this can be recycled again and again.

However, the glass panels on doors and windows are manufactured in a different way and are typically coated, tinted, or laminated. All these factors together give window/door glass a different chemical composition and melting point. This is why glass containers and window/door glass are NOT recycled together.

For this reason, keep in mind that you should NOT throw your window/door glass in the blue bin, even if they are only small panels or shards.

What Happens If I Throw Glass From Windows or Doors Into the Blue Bin?

In some provinces or municipalities, this can prompt them to not collect your blue bin until the contamination (i.e. the wrong item/s placed) is removed. If accidentally overlooked by the recycling personnel at any point, this can cause recycling equipment to malfunction and/or injury to people collecting/processing the recyclable materials.

Then How Do I Keep The Components of My Old Window or Door Out Of the Landfill?

There are mainly two ways to recycle window glass or door glass – along with the other components of the window or door. You can opt for ways involving DIY recycling projects and ways that don’t involve any DIY recycling projects.

Though it may take some time to accomplish either of these, it will help the environment and you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing that a window or door that has served you well is given a chance to be useful in another way.

Greenhouse made out of old windows and doors

What Are My DIY Options?

If you are up for some DIY, you can use old windows and doors to make things that you need. This will help you save and it can be really fun. There are plenty of DIY project inspirations online. Here are just a few ideas for you to get started with:

  • Use old windows or doors to construct a small greenhouse in your yard
  • Use an old window or door to construct a small table
  • Use an old door to make a shelf
  • Use an old door along with a small table to make a vanity table
  • Use portions of an old window to make a creative, multi-panel photo frame (best for windows with moderately-sized glass panels)
  • Use an old door to make a chest (best for wooden doors)

What Are My No-DIY Options?

Though the recycling or repurposing of glass in windows or doors may not be as direct as that with the tertiary recycling of glass jars, you only need the right contacts to be able to make the following options happen.

For Shards of Glass or Intact Glass

Though window or door glass generally cannot be recycled in the blue bin along with container glass, this doesn’t mean it can’t be recycled at all. These are the options on how to recycle glass from windows or doors. They can be…

  • Melted and re-manufactured into fiberglass
  • Incorporated as part of asphalt
  • Combined with reflective yellow or white road paint
  • Combined with concrete
  • Used by landscaping companies
  • Used by local art schools for their projects involving glass

As an additional option, glass that is intact and generally unblemished may be accepted for reuse by a building materials store.

For Aluminum/Vinyl/Scrap Metal Parts

There are, in fact, other parts of the window or door that can be recycled. But for this, you would need to be able to carefully dismantle your window or door. After this, you can call your local municipality regarding the next steps in accordance with their available recycling programs and collection practices.

Can I Just Dispose of My Entire Window or Door?

This could be an option depending on your municipality. You can ask them directly or you can ask one of the waste collectors in your neighbourhood. There could be further instructions on how to dispose of the window/door and/or you could be asked to pay a fee.

Where Do I Get a Replacement Window/Door?

With a high-quality window or door replacement, you won’t need to worry about disposing or recycling anytime soon. Here at Burano Doors, we make sure that our windows and doors are of top-notch quality, durability, energy-efficiency, and of course, aesthetic appeal. Our doors and windows will increase the value of your property while helping you immediately save on your electric bill. Additionally, these windows and doors will add beauty and comfort to your home.

Because we manufacture our doors and windows, we are able to give you the best price for these high-quality products and we can design them to your specifications. We can also install the window or door for you to save you the time, effort, and worry.

We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have and give you a free estimate for your home. So what are you waiting for? Contact us today!

Posted by Raj Kain
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