How To Recycle Glass While Camping
Getting rid of trash while RVing is usually pretty straightforward. That said, recycling while traveling in an RV is a different story, and trying to recycle glass is particularly difficult. This is unfortunate because glass can be recyclable, meaning we should all be doing our best to recycle every piece we can.
If you only take short trips, you can just hold onto your glass and recycle it once you get home. But what about those who travel for months at a time? Or those who are on the road full-time? For these people, trying to recycle glass can be tricky, yes. However, there are ways to recycle glass while RV living.
Here are our tips for doing just that.
What glass is recyclable?
First, it’s important to understand what kind of glass is recyclable, what kind should be donated, and what should just be tossed in the campground dumpster. After all, you don’t want to waste your time setting aside glass that can’t even be put into a recycle bin.
Basically, you are looking to recycle container glass. This is glass that is used to hold food or drink, such as soda bottles or sauce jars. This kind of glass is ideal for recycling because of how it is made. Other types of glass—such as mirrors, windows, crystal, ceramics and ovenware—are not recyclable because of the manufacturing process used to create them.
For this reason, you will need to donate used ovenware, ceramics, and crystal, and toss the rest in the trash. Large pieces of glass will need to be picked up by a waste management company.
How to store glass before recycling
You don’t want your glass to break before being recycled, as some recycling facilities won’t accept broken glass. Seeing as you’ll be traveling in your RV, you’ll also be working with a small space. This can make recyclable glass storage a bit of a challenge.
We recommend devoting a small storage bay to recycling. Use sticky foam sheets to create a layer of padding on the inside of the bin and use that bin specifically for glass. This will prevent the glass from breaking during travel while keeping it separate from the other recyclables.
Rinse all glass containers before putting them into the glass recycling bin, and be sure to remove labels and lids that are not glass. Some people may also find it useful to sort their glass by color, but it’s also possible to sort it just before dropping it off if necessary.
Where to recycle glass when RVing
Okay, so you have your glass jars and bottles all saved up, and they are really starting to take up room in your storage and add some weight to your RV. What do you do now? Well, the next step is to find a place to take the glass to be recycled!
Using campground recycle containers
Some campgrounds have recycling bins available to campers. Unfortunately, you can’t always put glass in these. If you do come across one that accepts glass, be sure to pay attention to what exactly is accepted and only put in items that are allowed.
Finding other recycle bins
Most of the time, you are probably going to have to leave the campground to recycle your glass.
The Earth911 recycling drop-off location search is ideal for finding places to take the glass. Simply put in your zip code and what you’re looking to recycle, and the program will show exactly what recycling drop-off locations are nearby. The website even includes a little note when the location only accepts items from local residents, something that really matters to us travelers.
Another option is to tote the glass around in the back of your car or truck until you happen to see a recycling bin. These are sometimes found in parking lots, national parks, and in front of grocery stores. Unfortunately, they usually limit what you can put into them and are often too small to accept a whole box of recycling.
Recycling glass bottles
Some states charge a small deposit every time you buy a glass bottle there. In these states, you can take glass bottles with the appropriate label into stores that sell such bottles and receive a small sum of money in exchange for each one. The amount is usually around 5 cents per bottle.
Alternatives to recycling glass
Recycling glass is a good thing, and it is definitely what we should be doing with any glass we can no longer use. That said, you might find that you can upcycle much of your container glass.
Some great ways to upcycle glass containers include the following:
- Using jars as cups and avoiding purchasing plastic cups for your RV kitchen.
- Reusing jars to hold leftovers and homemade sauces.
- Using jars as storage containers to keep small RV cabinets and drawers organized.
See what other kinds of glass upcycling ideas you can come up with!
As you can see, it is totally possible to recycle glass while traveling in an RV. Yes, it does require a little more effort than if you were in a house with regular recycling pick-up, but the effort is minimal and well worthwhile when you consider the fact that you’re helping keep our earth a green and beautiful place for future generations to explore and enjoy!
Get tips from other RVers
Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.
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- How To Find Recycling Centers While RVing