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Good News: The company turning glass bottles back into sand


14th Sep 2022 Good News

Good News: The company turning glass bottles back into sand

Glass Half Full is a grassroots glass recycling initiative that has created a sustainable solution to the global sand shortage and coastline erosion

In January 2020, over a bottle of wine, Tulane University students Franziska Trautmann and Max Steitz were sharing their frustrations about the lack of glass recycling in New Orleans. They wanted to create a system that would recycle glass into something functional. With that, their grassroots glass recycling organisation, Glass Half Full, was born. 

@glasshalffullnola And we’re just getting started (; #recycleglass ♬ Purple Hat - SOFI TUKKER

A sustainable alternative to sand extraction 

In the midst of a global sand shortage, Glass Half Full is creating a sustainable alternative to sand extraction techniques like dredging and mining, which disrupt ecosystems, erode coastlines and cost millions of dollars. 

"Glass Half Full creates sand that is used to rebuild coastlines and prevent floods"

Louisiana, where the organisation is based, loses on average a football field of coastal wetlands an hour. Glass Half Full creates sand that, among other things, is used to rebuild coastlines and prevent floods.

The glass recycling process

Glass and drink containers are collected through a system of free drop-off hubs and curbside pickup. The glass is pulverised, separated and sorted for use in various projects. The sand and glass cullet is used for disaster relief and prevention, coastal restoration, eco-construction, new glass products and more. 

Founders Trautmann and Steitz also hope their initiative will remind people that they have the power to work against climate change as individuals and as a community. 

Talking to The Guardian, Trautmann said, “We always hear, ‘Oh, we can’t do anything about climate change. We can’t do anything about the environment. It’s all the big companies [and] the government. It’s up to them.’ But when you collect glass over one year, you’re like, ‘Oh s**t. Individuals can do something.’ All those little things add up to something much bigger.”

"All those little things add up to something much bigger"

Glass Half Full’s work is supported by a team of volunteers and crowdfunding efforts, making it truly a community effort. A successful one, too—in their very first year, they helped to divert over 650,000 pounds of glass from landfills.

Find out more at Glass Half Full

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