Sunday, October 16, 2022

Creative Inspiration: Making Sand from Glass

Maybe it's because I'm finishing up a project with the National Bottle Museum, but I am fascinated by the work of a Louisiana-based organization called Glass Half Full, which turns glass back into sand.

I did not realize that there is a looming international sand shortage.  The United Nations has reported that sand is the most exploited natural resource in the world after water. Countries are consuming sand (for use in glass, concrete, and other construction materials) faster than it can be replaced by geological processes -- that takes hundreds of thousands of years!

This is where Glass Half Full comes in. The company was started by two college friends to address the sand crisis in a creative and ecologically-minded way.  Glass Half Full recycles Louisiana glass “waste” into sand for disaster relief and prevention, coastal restoration, eco-construction, new glass products, and more.

Check out this YouTube video to learn more about how over 16 tons of glass is recycled at the Glass Half Full facilities per week. The recycled glass pieces, called cullet, are crushed and sorted into gravel-sized chunks, a fine powdery material, and a coarse grind; this last material is shipped to wetlands for use in coastal restoration efforts. 

I love the idea of "reversing" the process by which sand is usually changed into glass and changing our perceptions about how the glass bottles we use can be repurposed to solve a worldwide problem.

To find out more about Glass Half Full, click on over to their website!

Glass Half Full co-founder, Franziska Trautmann, on top of "Glass Mountain"

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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

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