While getting replacement windows can boost your home’s energy efficiency and curb appeal, it creates a problem: how to dispose of the old windows.
If you have a professional window installation company install your new windows, they’ll take the old ones as a courtesy. But, if you’re going the DIY route, you’ll need to dispose of or recycle the old windows yourself.
Window Disposal Precautions: Lead Paint
If your windows are pre-1978, there’s a chance they contain lead, which is toxic to humans. In this case, you’ll need to take your windows to a hazardous material facility. You can’t donate or recycle materials containing lead.
Where to Recycle Old Windows
Depending on the condition of the windows, you can donate or recycle the frames.
Donate to a Reuse Center
Donate your working-condition windows to a reuse building center. These centers work as thrift stores for building supplies, accepting reclaimed materials.
You can find a location by searching the internet for “reuse centers near me.” Also, check donation guidelines – some building reuse stores will only accept certain frame materials and want windows with double panes and an intact seal.
Take Your Windows to a Habitat for Humanity Restore
Habitat for Humanity Restores accept reclaimed building materials in good condition. They sell these materials, with profits benefiting the community.
If your windows are in good working order, you can donate. You’ll need to research your store’s guidelines, as each location has limited space which affects what items they can accept.
Recycle the Frames at a Recycling Facility
Most recycling centers don’t accept window glass. Window glass contains special treatments like tints or Low-E coatings, which help the window reflect heat. These chemical coatings make it difficult and costly for recycling plants to break down the glass.
Some specialized recycling facilities will take windows, but they are less common – you can search on Earth911 to see if there’s a location near you.
If the windows contain broken seals or cracked glass, you can remove the glass and recycle the frame, depending on the material. You can recycle vinyl, wood, fiberglass, and aluminum window frames. Most composite window frames are non-recyclable.
List the Windows for Free Online
While your old windows might look like a pile of junk to you, many artists and crafters can reuse them for projects. Plus, if they’re in decent condition, someone may need them. List your windows for free on Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle, or Craigslist – be honest about their condition in your listing.
Where to Dispose of Old Windows
You can’t donate windows with warping, cracked glass, broken IGU seals, or rotting frames. While there are some window glass recycling centers, they’re few and far between. Many recycling centers will accept your frames – but not your glass.
If your windows don’t meet recycling or donation guidelines, here’s where to dispose of old windows.
Bring Them to A Construction and Demolition Landfill
Contact your local trash service to inquire about disposing of windows. Windows are construction and demolition waste, not regular municipal solid waste.
Most trash services won’t pick up the windows, but they may allow you to bring them to the landfill yourself.
Hire a Junk Removal Company
Junk removal services like 1-800-Got-Junk or your favorite local company can take your windows and dispose of them for you. You’ll need to pay a fee, but the crew will load up all windows and take them off your hand.
Rent a Dumpster for Construction Material
Contact your local trash service and rent a dumpster for construction debris. The trash company will bring the dumpster to your home, and you can load up all your windows. They’ll return on a specified date, taking the full dumpster with them.