Disposing of an old, large, cracked, or broken mirror can be a bit of a hassle. You need to make sure the broken glass doesn’t cause injury to anyone.
Similarly, if the mirror is whole, you need to make sure that it doesn’t break in transit. Since recycling your old mirrors isn’t a viable option, you must find a safe and responsible disposal method.
Let’s take a look at some ways in which you can dispose of an old mirror responsibly!
How to Dispose of a Mirror Safely
Unfortunately, you can’t recycle your mirrors. It’s because the recycling process for mirrors is exceptionally hard when compared to glass. It’s why it’s best to dispose of mirrors some other way.
With that said, you can ask your local recycling facility if they accept mirrors for recycling. If they don’t, find some responsible way to discard your old or broken mirrors.
Here are some ways in which you can dispose of a mirror safely:
Throw It into the Trash
You can dispose of your mirror by throwing it into the trash. However, the disposal method will vary depending on the condition of your mirror.
Here’s how to dispose of whole, cracked, and broken mirrors:
Disposing of a Whole Mirror
If your mirror is whole and small, you can put it inside the trash can.
However, don’t do that if it’s cracked or broken. Before throwing the whole mirror in the trash can, make sure to wrap it in cardboard, newspaper, or bubble wrap thoroughly.
Don’t forget to duct tape the edges shut before throwing it out. This way, you can make certain that it doesn’t break during transit to the waste facility.
Pro tip: Put a note on the front of your trash can that says something like, “fragile material inside” or “contains glass.” You can also use a permanent marker to label the newspaper, cardboard, or bubble wrap. This way, the sanitation worker will be extra careful while picking it up.
Disposing of a Cracked Mirror
If your mirror is cracked, make sure to tape the cracks before throwing out the mirror. It will ensure that the glass doesn’t come loose or fall out and hurt someone.
Use two to three strips of masking tape or duct tape to cover the entire length of the crack. If there’s a section where an entire chunk is missing, tape over that area.
The tape will hold the glass in the mirror in place and cover up any sharp edges that might not be visible but could still hurt you.
Make sure to wear leather gloves when working with a cracked mirror. After you have taped the mirror, shake off your gloves outdoors to dislodge any small shards of glass.
Warning: If the mirror is shattered into multiple pieces, don’t try to tape it back together. It will only lead to injury.
Disposing of Broken Mirror Pieces
If your mirror has broken into multiple pieces, don’t throw the shards directly into the trash. They can easily cut the sanitation worker and an animal rummaging through trash. Make sure to wrap the pieces neatly in a newspaper.
Just grab a stack of old newspaper and put on your trusty leather gloves. If the shards are sharp and tiny, make sure to wear long pants, close-toed shoes, and a long-sleeved shirt before picking them up.
This way, you can lessen the chances of injuring yourself. Closed-toed shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt all work better than their summertime counterparts.
Pick up the broken shards of glass and wrap them in three to four layers of newspaper or bubble wrap. Duct tape the newspaper or bubble wrap and throw it into the trash.
You can also use an old blanket or towel to dispose of the broken pieces. You can also double-bag them in puncture-resistant trash bags.
Cleaning Up After a Broken Mirror
After you have picked up and disposed of the glass pieces from your broken mirror, make sure to clean the affected area thoroughly. It will help you prevent accidental injuries.
Vacuum the area and then roll up some tape in a ball and blot the affected surface to pick up any tiny shards. You can throw the tape ball with the discarded mirror pieces.
Then, use a wet wipe to go over the area once again. It will help you pick up any leftover minuscule shards. It’s particularly useful for picking up tiny shards from carpeted surfaces that can easily collect glass dust.
Wipe the surface a few times with wet wipes to ensure that all the glass dust gets picked up.
Take it to the Landfill
If you are concerned that throwing the mirror into the trash might hurt scavenging animals or sanitation workers doing their job, you can take a different disposal route.
Your best bet might be to take the mirror directly to your local waste management facility.
This way, you can make sure that the mirror doesn’t get broken in transit or doesn’t hurt anyone.
Just make sure to check the hours of operation at the waste facility or call them up before heading down there.
Break the Mirror into Smaller Pieces and Then Dispose of It
If your mirror is too big to fit into the trash outside, you might need to break it into smaller pieces to get rid of it. However, you must be extra careful when breaking the mirror to avoid injuries.
You must do it outside so that any smaller pieces don’t remain inside your home.
Use a piece of cardboard that is slightly bigger than your mirror. Put the cardboard on the ground ad place your mirror on top of it. Use some duct tape to take the mirror off into a grid pattern.
The tape will hold the broken pieces together, making it easier for you to fold them up for disposal.
Make sure to wear leather gloves or thick gardening gloves and protective eyewear before breaking the mirror. You might also benefit from wearing thick, full-length pants, a full-sleeved shirt, and closed-toed shoes.
After wearing your protective gear, cover the mirror with another piece of large cardboard. It will ensure that no small piece of glass flies up while you break your mirror.
Then, gently hit the mirror with a hammer over its entire surface. If you don’t hear the audible cracking of the mirror, try hitting it a little harder.
Remove the top piece of cardboard and gently fold the mirror over on itself. You might need to use a sharp knife to cut the duct tape in places to fold the mirror easily.
If some glass pieces dislodge from the tape and mirror, put them separately and wrap them in multiple sheets of newspaper or bubble wrap. Duct tape the wrapped newspaper and throw it into the trash.
You can also put them in a cardboard box and use duct tape to secure the box before throwing it into the trash.
Pro Tip: If your mirror is whole, you can check with the local waste management facility to see if they have a bulk trash day. If they do, you can place your large mirror out that day. Lean it against the trash can outside your home for the sanitation workers to pick it up. It will save you from the hassle of breaking it into smaller pieces and discarding it yourself.
Also read: Is Glass Biodegradable?
Repurpose Old Mirrors
If you don’t want to throw your mirror into the trash, you can repurpose it. Similarly, if your mirror is in optimal condition, but you don’t want it anymore, you can give it away to make room for a new one.
Here are some ways to get rid of your old mirror without throwing it into the trash:
Sell it to an Antique Shop or Online
If your mirror is in mint condition, you can sell it online or at an antique shop for a good price. Make sure to clean the mirror properly, lean it against a blank wall, and take a pretty picture of it to post online.
You can also take the picture to your local antique shop to see if you can interest a vendor in buying it. Alternatively, you can sell it in a yard sale.
To sell your mirror for the right price, make sure to check out the pricing of other used mirrors that are on sale. Wrap your mirror in a blanket, newspaper, bubble wrap, or cardboard box before transporting it to its new home or a shop.
This way, you can make sure it doesn’t crack or break in transit.
Donate the Mirror
If you don’t want to sell the mirror, you can donate it to a local charity or a second-hand shop. Check out the thrift stores in your area to see if they accept old mirrors.
You can also contact Goodwill and drop off the mirror at a local center. Just make sure to clean the mirror and wrap it neatly before donating it.
Gift It to a Loved One
Alternatively, you can give the mirror to a loved one who would love to keep it. You can ask your family, friends, and even neighbors if they’d like to keep the mirror.
You can also give it to a loved one who needs it or has shown interest in it before.
Frame It as a Decorative Piece
You can measure the length and width of the mirror and then invest in a cool frame for it. You can hang it in your hallway, bedroom, on the back of a door, or on an empty wall in your living room.
You can personalize it by sticking the photos of your family members into the edges of your frame. You can also buy a frame and then paint it to your liking at home. It will be a fun DIY project.
Turn It into a Message Board
You can also clean the mirror and use chalkboard paint to turn it into a DIY message board. Clean it with rubbing alcohol and then prime it with a paint primer or spray made for glass.
Apply two fine coats of chalkboard paint on it. Let it cure for three to four days, and then hang it somewhere special. You could write notes, lists, quotes, meal plans, or anything else on your new message board.
Transform a Broken Mirror into an Art Project
If you’re the creative type, you can turn your broken mirror into an inspiring art project. Make sure to use leather gloves while playing around with broken glass pieces.
You can create a striking side table with broken glass pieces from an old mirror, some color, resin, and an old wooden frame.
You can also create a reflective gazing ball with small pieces of mirror and super glue. Also, you can use the large shards of your broken mirror to create a stunning mirror mosaic on a fence.
Use some paint and super glue to create a fun and unique art piece.
The Bottom Line
If you want to get rid of your old mirror, you should dispose of it properly. You can’t just throw it into the trash and call it a day. This way, you run the risk of injuring yourself, a trash-rummaging animal, and sanitation workers.
Similarly, you can’t recycle it. You need to use the aforementioned disposal methods to dispose of your old mirror safely and responsibly. Ideally, you should wrap it in newspaper, cardboard, or bubble wrap and then throw it into the trash.
You can also repurpose it, donate it, give it to a loved one, or sell it.
Whichever method you choose, make sure to dispose of the mirror carefully to protect yourself and others from injury!
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