Earth Notes - Recycled Glass

Flagstaff, AZ –

What's done with used glass depends in part on where you live. Flagstaff's eight glass drop-off sites collect about 70 tons of mixed glass each month. But there's no glass manufacturing plant in the area. Instead, the glass is crushed into tiny pieces at a recycling center.

The resulting glass sand is available, free, to the public and businesses. It has many uses. Some of it is mixed with locally produced paper sludge to cover daily deposits of waste at the city landfill. Some is used like cinders in winter to improve traction. Residents use the glass sand in landscaping, in paver sand for patios, and in sandbags to add weight to the back of trucks. Artists have created tiles with the recycled glass. One Flagstaff company has been very successful in using the cleaned and screened crushed glass in producing artisan concrete countertops.

Elsewhere, a company in New Mexico crushes recycled glass to a fine powder to create cleaning products that would otherwise have used pumice extracted from mountains. Even if it isn't turned into new bottles, there's no reason not to drop off your used glass so that it can have a second life doing something else.