What Exactly Is That Smashed Glass on the Street?


dpc_recycling glass

Following a discussion about car break-ins around Ditmas Park, several neighbors have said they’ve seen lots of broken glass on streets lately. We’ve seen one of those glass problems already this year. An important question arose: is the glass from smashed car windows or recycling trucks spilling bottles onto the street?

It’s worth knowing the difference between the two kinds of glass. Broken recycled glass is typically found in the middle of roads, away from parking lanes. It’s usually a mix of colors reflecting the variety of bottles recycled. The picture above is of recycled glass.


On the other hand, broken car glass is more often seen near the gutter and is one uniform greenish color. The pictures above are from smashed car windows on Dorchester and Cortelyou.

When we posted about broken recycling glass earlier this year, the post alerted Community Board 14 to the problem. After some work with the Department of Sanitation, several trucks were fixed.

If you spot broken recycled glass, you should contact Community Board 14 with the location of the glass. You can call the board at 718-859-6357 and email them at

If you spot broken car window glass, report it to the police. If it’s your car, call 911. Even if it might take a while for a response, it helps our police know where to patrol and to recognize if there are any specific patterns. For other incidents, you can call the 70th Precinct at 718-851-5511.

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  1. Thanks for the clarification post. As I stated before, there are piles of broken car window glass along Ocean Ave (at this point, it’s the same piles that just haven’t been cleaned up). But I sure as heck am not going to call the police and stand next to it for several hours just to make a report! I have no idea whose cars were broken into (by the time I saw it, the cars parked next to the piles had intact windows) or when, exactly, it occurred!

    If I ever saw the crime in progress, now, that’s different.

  2. Sanitation claims thsat they fixed the truck that was leaving a glass trail months ago. Perhaps there’s another truck with a leak.

    The criminals who litter our satreets with broken car window glass are another problem that’s not so easy to fix.

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