A (very) Brief History of Gallup’s Glass Recycling
Gallup Sand & Gravel picked up glass at Rainbow Recycling Center from about 2004-2007; they crushed the material and planned to experiment with creating different concretes. Local glass recycling ended when their business was sold.
The Challenges of Recycling Glass in New Mexico
*Crushed glass prices are very low (averages $10/ton exclusive of transportation)
*Glass is very heavy & costly to transport
*Glass is inexpensive to make from raw materials
How Glass is Recycled
* Glass is usually sorted by color and crushed into “cullet”
* Cullet is mixed with sand, soda ash & limestone, heated to ~2,700 degrees F
* Molden glass is poured into molds
Most recycled glass is used to make new glass containers.
Other Uses for Recycled Glass
*Additive to concrete, fiberglass, kitchen tiles, countertops & flooring
*Filtration, drainage & growing mediums
*Sand blasting abrasive and water jet cutting medium
Tempered glass, such as drinking glasses, eye glasses, auto and window glass cannot be recycled due to their different chemical additives and coatings.
New Mexico Experimental Glass Workshop in Santa Fe uses recycled glass to make amazing glass sculptures (above pieces by Stacey Neff, director). Check out their video stream of the glass recycling process http://nmegw.org/recycling.php
Growstone in Albuquerque makes an environmentally friendly growing medium from glass that is used to aerate soil and for hydroponic applications.
Earthstone International in Santa Fe makes cleaning and sanding products from pulverized recycled glass.
NM Department of Transportation is using crushed glass as part of the building material for highway & bridge construction.
Flagstaff’s Residential Glass Collection that charges residents a small monthly fee to pick up their glass; the material is transported and made into new glass bottles.
New Mexico Recycling Coalition worked with communities across the state to help them set up glass recycling operations. See NM Local Use of Glass Recycling Guide.
Navajo Nation- 2 drop off sites.
Farmington- 2 drop off sites.
Flagstaff- 6 drop off sites.