California’s New Strategy on Glass Recycling

CalRecycle just awarded a $3 million grant to Sioneer Stockton, LLC, a company working to build a glass processing facility in Stockton, California. Sioneer would use the grant to build a facility that is capable of precessing about 6,000 tons of glass per month. They will turn these post-consumer glass into a specialty sand called pozzolans. Pozzolans is a type of material that can be made into high-strength concrete that is used in infrastructure projects.

Sioneer Stockton got this grant from a competitive grant program called the “Recycled Fiber, Plastic, and Glass Grant Program.” The purpose of this competitive program is to lower overall greenhouse gas emissions by establishing new recycle facilities in California.

This program is a part of the “California Climate Investments.” It is a program that invests billions of dollars every year to work on reducing greenhouse effects. It also successfully creates a financial incentive for companies to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative strategies to reduce pollution and help with climate change. Their main projects includes affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero emission vehicles, environmental restoration, sustainable agriculture, general recycling and much more. At least 35% of these investments are made in disadvantaged and low-income communities.

I had no idea you can actually turn glass into sand. After a little more research on this topic, I found out that this is actually a pretty common recycling strategy around the globe. According to Geek.com, New Zealand is using this practice to save their beaches. DB Breweries came up with a slogan, “drink beer, save the environment.” That is the best thing I have ever heard. They invented these machines that are able to crush empty glass bottles into a sand substitute, and use this substitute to fill the beaches. These machines look just like vending machines. You just need to push the container through a bottle-shaped hole, then the machine’s vacuum system will automatically remove silica dust and plastic labels, and each bottle will be crushed and turned into 200 grams of sand substitute. The whole process takes about five seconds.

Not just saving beaches, this sand will also be distributed for road projects, residential construction, even gold bunkers.

You see, recycling is not as expensive and inefficient as you think. You will need an investment to develop the technology, that’s for sure. But the results are definitely worthwhile. We can turn glass into sand in five seconds now. What’s next? We can turn plastic back to oil, probably. All we need is patience, and determination.

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