Glass Recycling in Dona Ana County

By Cindy Martinez

Glass crushing machinery at the recycling center in Amador Transfer Station.

Winter in New Mexico has passed quickly, and now, the promise of Spring and Summer are in full swing. As Spring Cleaning comes rolling in with the winds, we can find that there is a lot of recyclable items in our household and backyards. One of the things that we often find is glass, and that raises the question: how can we recycle glass in Dona Ana County?

Glass recycling in Dona Ana is a fairly simple process that follows a few easy steps:

  1. Collect your glass bottles and jars, clean them out, and remove the lids.
  2. Take your glass items to either The Recycle Center – 2855 W. Amador or the Foothills Recycling Yard – 555 S. Sonoma Ranch Blvd.
  3. Sort your glass items by color, and put them in their respective containers.

What items can you place in our glass recycling bins? These items include:

  • Amber/brown glass bottles and jars.
  • Blue glass bottles and jars.
  • Clear/transparent bottles and jars.
  • Green glass bottles and jars.

What items can you NOT place in our glass recycling bins?

  • Vases
  • Drinking cups and plates
  • Window glass/panes
  • Pyrex
  • Light bulbs
  • Test tubes
Photo courtesy of SCSWA

It can be as simple as that! A common misconception about recycling glass in our community is that you can leave your glass bottles in a your blue recycling bins. Although it is great to recycle these, it is not the best to leave glass in your recycling bins, as it can be a safety hazard for residents and workers at the materials recovery facility (MRF).    In addition, glass in recycling programs can incur a high cost of recycling that far exceed the value of the recyclable itself.  Glass in recycling programs are costing MRFs across the country as much as $150 million a year to process.  The SCSWA Glass Recycling Program avoids this high cost by processing glass in-house and redistributing the processed material back to the community.

You might wonder, what happens with your glass after we recycle it? After it is brought to our facilities, we put it into a special crusher where the resident sorted glass bottles and jars are then crushed into two sizes: a small, sand-like size and roughly a quarter-inch size. After the glass has been crushed, residents can then stop by our Recycling Center and take the crushed glass for free, and use it for anything they’d like. The most common uses of crushed glass are landscaping, gardening and arts and crafts.

Glass recycling is a great way to keep glass out of our landfills, avoid high recycling costs and a great way to prevent illegal dumping in Doña Ana. For more information on glass recycling, visit