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How to Dispose of Broken Glass

Updated February 21, 2017

Broken glass is dangerous and difficult to clean up and dispose of properly. Glass always breaks into countless shards of different sizes, including pieces that are too small to see. In addition to cleaning up every single broken piece, you need to dispose of them properly to avoid injury. You need to take your own safety into account as well as the safety of those who must collect and take away the glass.

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  1. Place a plastic bag on and inside a cardboard box. Fold the edges of the bag over the edges of the box, much like you would fold a garbage bag over a dustbin.

  2. Soak a set of paper towels in water. You want at least five paper towels stacked together to make the set as sturdy as possible while wet. Keep the wet towels as flat and uncrumpled as possible.

  3. Sweep the large visible shards of glass into a pile using the wet paper towels stack as a broom. You should also wear gloves while doing this to keep your fingers from catching very small glass splinters.

  4. Pick up the shards of glass using the towels and deposit them into the plastic bag.

  5. Tie up the plastic bag once it is no more than three-quarters full, then close and tape up the box with the bag inside it. Start a new box and bag if needed.

  6. Wipe down the surface using a second set of wet towels to try and pick up any remaining small glass pieces.

  7. Dispose of the paper towels and gloves in the bag/box you are using.

  8. Label every box with a marker as containing broken glass to warn garbage collectors.

  9. Tip

    A slice of bread can work instead of the wet towels to pick up the small pieces.


    Vacuuming up glass pieces is not recommended because the shards -- even small ones -- can damage the machine.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Plastic bags
  • Gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Tape
  • Marker

About the Author

Chris Moore

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.

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