Can Glass Shower Doors Be Recycled?


Glass shower doors are some of the most popular ways to design a sleek and appealing bathroom. Glass shower doors are timeless and a beautiful way to modernize a bathroom. But what do you do when they have run their course and it’s time to replace them? Many people wonder if it is possible to recycle their shower doors to avoid wasting a perfectly good piece of glass. The short answer is that glass shower doors cannot be recycled in the traditional way, but reusing or repurposing the glass door is a great option to be more sustainable and eco-friendly!

What Are Glass Shower Doors Made of?

Today, most glass shower doors are composed of tempered glass. Tempered glass is made through a process of heating and cooling the glass in order to make a more durable product. Durability is of great importance for shower doors as they are used frequently and cannot risk shattering and injuring users.

Another, less common option for shower doors, is using laminated glass. Laminated glass consists of at least two pieces of glass and one plastic interlayer that holds glass together when broken. This type of glass is perfect for safety because it protects from injuries. The great thing about laminated glass is that it can be recycled in some areas. However, high moisture levels from showers can cause the glass to de-laminate over time, making laminated glass a less popular choice. Laminated glass is also used to make windshields. Check with your local auto glass replacement companies to see if they have recycling programs that would make laminated glass recycling possible for you!

Some shower doors have hydrophobic coatings that protect against grime and bacteria growth. In addition to the chemicals added to the glass from coatings, there are additional parts to shower doors like plastic, metal, and rubber to keep the structure functional within the shower. All of these factors make glass shower doors unique from other glass, making glass shower doors difficult to traditionally recycle.

Can You Recycle Glass Shower Doors?

Glass recycling has been around for a long time. One of the great things abouthinged-shower-door glass is that it is infinitely recyclable, meaning that it does not break down no matter how many times it is recycled. It can be an excellent alternative to other materials such as plastic, which can only be recycled about two to three times.

Although, typically food-grade glass is the only type that can be recycled. It is always best to double check with your local county government to see what is recyclable in your area to be sure. This means that glass shower doors usually are not able to be recycled in the traditional way. You may be wondering why this is. This is because glass shower doors and traditionally recycled bottled glass have a different chemical makeup that does not allow for them to be recycled together.

As mentioned earlier, shower doors also come with metal, plastic, and rubber parts that would be too expensive and time consuming for the traditional recycling service to remove and recycle. Glass bottles are much more uniform and less complex than the variety of windows and glass doors that would be more complex to navigate recycling.

Fortunately, traditional recycling is not our only option for recycling. Reuse and repurposing is a way to recycle in a more creative fashion.

What You Can Do Instead

As mentioned, all hope is not lost! 

While you may not be able to use traditional recycling methods, with the help of some creativity, your glass shower doors can find a new home. The great thing is that there are plenty of alternative and creative solutions to recycling your glass shower doors. Repurposing and reusing are the best ways to do this with your doors. Below are some suggestions for how to “recycle” glass shower doors in new ways.

Some crafty examples include:

  • Creating your own greenhouse for your garden
  • Creating a mosaic glass art project with the pieces from your shower door

If you’re not looking to repurpose them yourself, there may be people in your community who could find a use for them.

  • Local non-profit organizations may be willing to take it. Specifically, your local Habitat for Humanity may have a Habitat ReStore where they accept building materials such as these.
  • Contact your local school art programs or drama programs.
  • Donate them to your local building material reuse company.

Steps for Repurposing

There are just a few steps for making sure that you are repurposing your glass shower doors in their best possible condition.

  1. Clean the glass to the best of your ability

Hydrophobic coated glass doors are much easier to clean as they are generally better protected. Whether it is coated or not, the shower door will have to be removed of the grime, soap scum, and hard water stains from its years of use. Any technique you have to clean your shower door will do. A mixture of distilled white vinegar and water would do the trick!

      2. Remove any chipped or damaged parts of the glass

If any stains are not removed or chips are in the glass, it may be best to cut those parts and preserve the rest of the glass that remains in good condition. Do not attempt to do this yourself, but find a professional who can cut it safely.

      3. Contact those in your local community who could benefit from repurposing your glass

Reaching out to companies in your community who you think could have a use for the glass. This could be anyone ranging from your local Habitat for Humanity or a local building materials reuse company. By repurposing the glass this way, you avoid contributing to waste in the landfills and the glass is able to be used another way.

Whether you’re looking to replace a broken shower door or are renovating your bathroom, Glass.com has a resource for you. If you are currently looking for a new shower door, Glass.com can help you to receive quotes from local shower door companies near you! http://glass.com/showershttps://www.glass.com/showers

Glass.com also has an abundance of resources for glass cleaning and maintenance. Check out the Glass.com Info Center for more glass tips and helpful information. Have any questions or concerns about what you’ve read? Let us know by contacting us at info@glass.com.


By Isabella Taffera

Isabella Taffera is an author for Glass.com


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