“You usually need sand to make glass. But this entrepreneur crushes bottles back into sand. She co-founded what could be Louisiana‘s biggest glass-recycling operation. And in about two years, she saved 4 million beer bottles’ worth of glass from landfills…
“Glass Half Full operates in a state with a disappearing coastline, and it’s ramping up at a time when global supplies of sand are actually running out.”
Take a tour of Glass Half Full’s recycling warehouse with co-founder and CEO Franziska Trautmann. This Insider World Wide Waste video by Emily Harger and Elizabeth McCauley shares how sand made from crushed glass can help rebuild Louisiana’s shrinking coast.
See how different sizes of sand—large gravel-size grains, fine powder, and coarse sand—can be reused in commercial industries, help protect homes from flooding, and are a foundation for safely restoring essential wetlands and coastal ecosystems.
Plus, find out how two college students, Trautmann and CFO Max Steitz, reimagined recycling to make a difference for their climate-challenged community and city.
More from the video narration, and from Trautmann:
“Traditional recyclers send the crushed glass to manufacturers, which mix it with other materials and then melt it all down to make new bottles. But Fran says there aren’t any of these facilities nearby:
“‘And then it doesn’t really make sense environmentally, because you’re spending all of that gas to send a super-heavy product four hours away.’
“So they decided to skip that step: ‘The goal was always to be able to recycle the glass locally.'”
Is their glass-recycled sand safe to reuse in nature? To find out, Trautmann and Steitz received a National Science Foundation grant to work with scientists and engineers at Tulane University. The results: “…sand made from glass doesn’t leach anything into the water and that plant life can grow in it.”
Previously on TKSST: Glass Half Full: New Orleans glass recycling turns bottles into sand.
Then watch these related sand, glass, recycling, and erosion videos next:
• The Amazing Life of Sand, a Deep Look video
• Can oysters stop a flood?
• Mangroves + Oysters + Earthen Dikes = Eco Engineering
• Earth’s Hydrosphere and Geosphere + Weathering and Erosion
• Erosion demonstration: Comparing grass, dead leaves, and soil
• How is a hand blown glass pitcher made?