How to Pick Up Broken Glass

Picking up broken glass needs to be done with care to avoid cutting yourself. Moreover, its disposal needs to be done with consideration for other people handling the disposal bag down the line.


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    Assess the amount of damage done. If the item has broken cleanly into only a few large pieces, this will be fairly easy to pick up. On the other hand, glass that has shattered or splintered in many different directions will be a lot harder and potentially more dangerous to pick up.
    • If the object hasn't suffered too much damage and is something you want to repair to keep, such as a glass figurine, make a decision now to avoid throwing it out before trying to mend it. Depending on how expensive it is though, you may need to get professional help to mend it; just be sure to find all of the pieces.
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    Prepare quickly to pick up the glass. First of all, cordon off the area to prevent babies, toddlers, pets and anybody else from walking or crawling over it. Have someone else stand near it if need by, while you get the items needed to pick it up.
    • Lock away boisterous dogs, curious cats and any other animal that could pass by.
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    Find some newspaper, strong, thick gloves (gardening gloves are good) and if need be, your eyeglasses. You'll need to look hard to find all the shards if it is badly broken.
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    Put on the gloves. Don't assume that you can't be cut wearing these––you can. You still have to be very careful; they are just a better barrier than your naked hands.
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    Avoid kneeling in the area where the glass has fallen. You might stick your knee into broken pieces.
    • Avoid assuming any position that could cause you to lose balance, or you risk slipping and stabbing your hand with the glass.
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    Turn on a light to help you see better if the area is dark. Glass should glint readily the more light there is.
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    Place newspaper down in a collection point where there is no glass. The newspaper should be several layers thick but not so thick that you cannot roll it up neatly.
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    Collect the largest pieces of broken glass first. Place these on the newspaper. Whenever picking up glass, do so with great care. A small brush and pan can also be used; just be careful to ensure no shards are left on the brush after use.
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    Once you have all of the glass collected (and do a double, triple check, including under things and around corners), roll up the newspaper with care. Tape it together so that it cannot unfurl and cause glass to fall out in the disposal bag. Dispose of in the trash.


  • Never throw broken glass direct into the trash; someone could be cut awfully. It can also simply slice through the trash bag and cause all of your trash to fall out.
  • Don't throw broken glass into recycling containers.

Article Info

Categories: Glass and Stained Glass Projects