Whether you have an old mirror that’s seen better days or need to dispose of a recently broken mirror, you may have found yourself wondering: can I recycle this?
The answer isn’t as straightforward as you may think.
As far as traditional recycling goes, the answer is unfortunately no. Unlike glass bottles or jars, which can be recycled in most areas, the type of glass used to make mirrors, coupled with the reflective coating on the back, makes it unable to be recycled. In fact, even if the reflective coating could be removed, mirror glass still can’t be recycled.
The reason lies in the actual recycling process. With glass, this means crushing it into small pieces and melting it down. Since mirror glass and bottle glass have different melting points, recycling centers can’t accommodate mirror glass. So, while you may have had great environmental intentions to send your broken mirror to a recycling center, we regret to tell you that isn’t possible.
But wait! That doesn’t mean your only other option is throwing away the pieces. In addition to all of the crafty repurposing ideas we shared in this post, we have a few more ideas for how to recycle an old or broken mirror.
- Make a custom hand mirror. Choose a piece close to your desired size and shape (or cut one, if you have the proper tools), then use a Dremel to smooth the edges. You can put it in a small picture frame or line the back with decorative paper.
- Call your local art store. Since art stores often sell broken glass by the pound to makers of mosaics and stained glass, they might be interested in purchasing your broken glass or accepting it as a donation.
- Check with a local antique store. If your mirror is just old and not broken, you may be able to sell it to a local antique store or donate it to a reclaimed furniture store.
- Put it on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Whether it’s an old mirror that’s seen better days or pieces of broken mirror glass, you never know what someone else might need.
Regardless of what you end up doing with your old and broken mirror, make sure you use caution when handling potentially sharp pieces. While the seven years of bad luck might be a myth, the dangers of jagged glass are not!
In the market for a new mirror? Shop our selection.