How to Dispose of Broken Glass (Shards)?

No matter how much you try there is no escaping broken glass. Even with all the care in the world, we somehow end up with broken glass on the floor.

The terrible breaking sound of the glass itself is unnerving and disconcerting like no other.

Since broken glass is hazardous, you should be aware of a safe cleanup and disposal method to deal with dangerous glass shards.

What You Should Do When Clearing up Broken Glass

You will have to avoid entering the scene of the disaster without thick-soled shoes.

No matter how confident you are in your sense of sight, tiny shards are elusive and you can step on them easily without knowing where they are.

By extension, you should not attempt to pick up any glass piece with bare hands either. Protect your hands by donning thick rubber gloves.

Using gloved hands, pick up the big pieces of broken glass. Do not hold them from the edges which may be very sharp.

Even if the area looks clear you should not take any chances for small glass shards can be very elusive. Make sure that you vacuum clean the area to gather any tiny splinters that may be still lurking on the floor.

Another thing that you should be aware of is the distance over which broken glass can spread. It is incredible how far glass fragments can spread when you drop and break a glass object.

Do not leave the broken glass lying around for any length of time. Start cleaning up as soon as the accident happens.

This will minimize the risk of someone getting injured from the glass fragments. Inform everyone and tell them to stay away.

Take great care that children and pets remain away from the area during glass cleanup.

You should keep in mind that a broken piece of glass is dangerous not just to you but also to workers. So you should take steps to ensure that no one gets hurt, especially waste disposal workers.

Also read: Is Glass Biodegradable?

Can Broken Glass Be Recycled?

The short answer is YES, broken glass can be recycled. But it is not alright to put broken glass in a recycling bin since there is a serious risk of injury to recycling workers.

You will have to contact recycling facilities in your locality to understand how you can recycle broken glass.

This is what you can do if a glass recycling bin is not within your reach.

Required Items

  • A thick piece of cloth. The size of the cloth depends on the glass quantity.
  • Paper
  • Red Marker
  • Strong adhesive tape
  • A box with a lid
  • A hammer

How to Safely Dispose of Broken Glass

  1. Put big glass pieces into the cloth. The piece of cloth should be large enough to hold all glass pieces securely. Wrap the cloth around the glass pieces to ensure that they are fully covered.
  2. As for small shards, you can remove them simply by vacuuming them. Remember to vacuum in a large area around the wreckage site since glass pieces are flung over a large distance when a glass artifact is dropped.
  3. Break up the large glass pieces that you just collected. Using the hammer, carefully smash them into smaller pieces. Since the glass pieces are wrapped securely in the thick cloth, they should not spread.
  4. Holding the cloth carefully to ensure that glass pieces do not fall out, transfer it to the box with a lid.
  5. Close the lid of the box and seal it using strong adhesive tape.
  6. Take out a piece of clean paper and write on it a warning using a red marker. You can write for instance, “Danger! Box contains broken glass.”
  7. Stick the warning note on the top of the box lid where it will be most visible.
  8. Keep the box in a safe place and wait until the garbage collection day arrives.
  9. Set yourself a reminder on your smartphone so that you remember to place the box in the bin on garbage collection day.

What to Avoid When Disposing of Broken Glass

Don’t ever throw broken glass directly in the bin. This is a big hazard to waste disposal workers.

Perhaps worse than throwing it straight in the bin is wrapping it in a newspaper before tossing it in the trash. You are making dangerously sharp shards even more difficult to detect.

The fragments can cut through paper easily so the newspaper does not lessen the peril in any way. In other words, you are creating the perfect recipe for a painful disaster. Avoid this at all costs.

The best thing to do is to dispose of it in a glass recycling bin so that the glass does not go to waste.

Removing Broken Glass from Your Lawn or Yard

Clearing up broken glass from a flat surface is hard enough, but removing glass splinters from a grassy patch or soft soggy soil is even more difficult. If the lawn surface is hardened due to drought, then the surface may be easier to clean.

Things become much more challenging when the soil is soft and soggy. In this condition, some of the glass fragments may get embedded in the soil.

Retrieving all-glass splinters is not an easy task but the steps outlined below will help you to do a good job and make the area safe again.

Don Protective Clothing

Wear thick gloves whenever handling broken glass. This will protect your hands against abrasions and cuts.

The best choice is a pair of gardening gloves. In case you don’t have gardening gloves then you could also wear dishwashing latex gloves as the next best option.

Wear thick-soled shoes before venturing into the area.

Remove Big Glass Pieces

Using your gloved hand, you can pick up the bigger pieces one at a time. Collect all of these pieces in a piece of thick cloth.

A thicker cloth is a better choice since there is a smaller chance of the sharp pieces injuring someone.

The cloth piece should also be big enough to cover the pieces fully. Once you put all the pieces in the cloth, wrap it up to cover them all.

Clean up Smaller Glass Fragments

Whenever you are cleaning up the smashed glass, there are always tiny splinters that remain after you have picked up the larger pieces.

These shards are either too many or too small to be picked up.

There is an easy way to pick up broken glass shards from difficult uneven surfaces. You can use play-dough to soak up all the tiny fragments.

Once the splinters are embedded in the play-dough, don’t attempt to take out any of the shards.

You will have the discard the shard-lined play dough once it is used. You can discard it along with the bigger glass pieces.

Keep in mind that the play dough method is suitable only for rough surfaces that are perfectly firm like concrete or stone bricks.

This method will not work for soil especially when it is muddy and soft.

For muddy soil, you are better off a wet and dry vacuum cleaner. You can bring out a powerful vacuum machine to such up remaining glass shards, soil, and other debris.

If you don’t have a wet and dry vacuum cleaner, then you can resort to the ultimate step to remove the glass from the lawn: soil removal.

You won’t have to remove an enormous amount of soil. Removing just the upper one-inch layer is enough.

It will be an annoyance to rake the soil once again and to plant seeds as well.

However, your trouble is worth the pain since you can rest assured that no kids will be injured while gamboling in your lush lawn.

Why Safety Is Necessary While Disposing Broken Glass

There is little doubt that sharp glass pieces can cause some very serious injuries and lacerations. But what is not known is that it can kill in rare instances.

According to the Independent, a man died after he was cut by a wine glass that ripped through the bin bag he was carrying. 66-year-old John Fozard from Anglesey had an artery in thigh severed by a sharp glass piece which led to his death by bleeding.

The coroner found evidence that Mr. Fozard attempted to arrest the bleeding but was unsuccessful.

The fatal injury was a 4 cm wide deep cut above just above the knee. The bleeding was so rapid that he did not have enough time to call emergency services.

There are several instances of death by broken glass reported by the media. Many of these incidents involve the victim between cut by broken glass after crashing onto a glass door or table.

While deaths are rare, cases of painful injuries are much more common. One particularly excruciating and tricky scenario is when glass shards embed under the skin.

These are difficult to remove and pose the risk of infection. You should seek medical help if you are ever involved in such an accident.

Therefore, you should dispose of glass safely so that it threatens the safety of neither you nor anyone else.

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