Recycling Q&A: Unscrewing the Mystery of Mason Jars And Metal Lids

Recycling Q&A: Unscrewing the Mystery of Mason Jars And Metal Lids

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of recycling tips from Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Got a question or idea for a recycling tip? Contact Jarland at 630-208-3841 or

After the last Recycling Q&A article, I got quite a few follow up questions and also a point of clarification.

Here are the latest updates on jar recycling, metal lids, envelope windows and more!

On Jar Recycling


“In the article about recycling in the Kane County Connects today, there was a photo of canning jars demonstrating having the lids removed. Are we allowed to put canning jars into the recycling? I thought they were like Pyrex and needed a higher melting point than regular glass … Thanks for the info!”


Though I was pretty sure that they are recyclable, I thought I better double check with the experts! So I reached out to my contacts at local Material Recovery Facilities (sorting facilities we call MRFs).

Greg Maxwell of Resource Management confirmed that glass mason jars (canning jars) are acceptable in the recycling but added that they do not want any of the rubber rings. Nor do they accept plastic mason jars (which I personally did not know existed!)

Further confirmation came from Tomas Vujovic of Waste Management, who replied, “Most canning jars are made of annealed glass, which is recyclable. Pyrex is not recyclable, but it’s mostly found in cookware.”

So the verdict is in. You can recycle glass mason canning jars in your curbside recycling program!

Best Practice:

All of the above made me start thinking. Mason jars are highly reusable, because you can buy new lids and sealing caps and use them again next harvest! Also thrift stores will take them for resale and ultimately reuse. That’s the best way to discard them if you are done with your canning days forever!

Clarification On Envelope Windows

Another resident also wrote to clarify a point: “Just a note about windows — in envelopes, pasta boxes, etc. We tend to call them cellophane. Cellophane is/was a wood product and is very expensive and not used much these days.

Today, those windows are plastics: polystyrene, polypropylene, polyethylene, etc. And things change pretty fast, so do the research. It always pays to be factual. Happy Holidays!”

My reply:

Thank you so much for reaching out! Good to know! Luckily, the advice stands: Whether it is cellophane or plastic, the paper manufacturers can screen it out.

Read More Recycling Q&A!