Shipping Glass: Legal or Not Legal?

Shipping glass is perfectly legal with any shipping carrier, as long as you package your items properly to keep them from breaking
Shipping glass

Due to its fragile nature, we often get asked whether or not shipping glass is legal. The good news is, the answer is yes. Technically, you can send any type of glass item with any shipping carrier. However, shipping glass isn’t as easy as dropping it in a package and calling it a day. You’ll want to protect your items as best as you possibly can to keep them from breaking. If you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve offered some tips on how to do just that here.

None of the Shipping Carriers Prevent You from Shipping Glass

First thing’s first: you can ship glass with any major or regional carrier. Glass itself isn’t a hazardous material, so you won’t face any restrictions on your shipment. Now, if there’s alcohol inside of the glass, that’s another story (USPS won’t allow you ship alcohol—only UPS or FedEx will). That said, if you’re shipping things such as empty mason jars or blown glass artwork, you’re good to go!

Pro Tip: Depending on how much your package weighs, you’ll usually get the cheapest rates with the US Postal Service. USPS offers the best mix of affordable rates and quick delivery times, which is why small package shippers use USPS every day. Read more about why shipping with USPS is the best option for smaller, lightweight shipments such as boxes containing glass.

Use the Proper Packing Material to Keep Glass Items from Breaking

When it’s time to pack your shipment, that’s when the real work comes in. Lucky for you, we’ve laid out some basic steps for you to follow below:

  • First, use a sturdy, corrugated cardboard box. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we get asked, “Can I place the glass in a padded envelope?” Using a padded envelope is just asking for the glass to break. So, find as sturdy of a cardboard box as you can get your hands on, and use that for your shipment. The more snug the box fits around your item, the better off you’ll be.
  • Next, sufficiently wrap the glass item itself. Wrapping your item will keep it from getting scratched or cracked, and this is highly important. A great way to do this is by using packing paper, or even sheets of newspaper if you’ve got them laying around. When you’re done wrapping, tape it up, and maybe consider adding another layer on top. To test whether you’ve wrapped it well enough, you should be able to press down or lightly knock your hand against the item without being able to tell that there’s glass inside.
  • Finally, fill out the empty space in the package once you put the glass in. Filling out the empty space in the package will keep the item from moving around inside of the box and potentially shattering. Some materials that fill out empty space nicely are packing peanuts, air pillows, and cardboard-based crinkle paper. The more you can use in this case, the better.

Learn more about the most popular kinds of packing materials.

Consider Purchasing Insurance

The thing about glass is that it’s one of the most fragile types of materials out there…and a lot of packages take damage during transit. You never know what can happen to a package on its way to the final destination. It could fall off a shelf on the truck after hitting a bump in the road, or it could get dropped at any point. From our experience, the possibilities of something going wrong are endless. That’s why we always suggest protecting your packages with shipping insurance.

When you add insurance to your packages, you can declare the full value of the items (plus the cost of shipping). Then, you’ll receive that full amount back should anything happen to your items. It’s the best way to protect yourself against losing money when packages go missing or get damaged…and that protection is especially important when shipping something as fragile as glass.

Want to learn more about sending glass and other delicate items? Check out our fragile items shipping guide.

If Your Items are Too Bulky, Work with Glass Shipping Pros

While we hope this guide has given you the tools to ship on your own, some types of glass items are just too bulky and expensive to take on by yourself. One such example is fine art and blown glass sculptures (instead of jars and bottles, think vases or large decorative pieces). When it comes time to ship an item like these, then you can rely on professionals like Fine Art Shippers to handle your glass shipments for you.

The special thing about Fine Art Shippers is how they pack their shipments; basically, they ship glass pieces in special wooden crates manufactured by their team in-house. That means that they build each crate with the exact dimensions of the artwork in mind to guarantee complete protection, so that your shipment can withstand anything that might happen during transit. Last but not least, they also take care of all the shipping insurance, and will even install the art on-site once it arrives at the final destination!

Want to learn more about Fine Art Shippers? Visit their website to get a free quote today.


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