Don’t you just love it when you can solve two problems at once?
Franziska Trautmann and Max Steitz were students at Tulane University when they came up with an amazing idea. The pair were sharing a bottle of wine when someone mentioned that Louisiana does not recycle any glass in the entire state.
Not only that, but the state’s coastline has been eroding for decades, eliminating over a quarter of the important wetlands that wild and sea life call home. One solution to the erosion is adding burlap bags filled with manmade sand, and since glass is made from sand, Franziska and Max saw a connection.
The duo decided to start the first (and only) glass recycling plant in the state, then they turn the discarded glass into sand to restore the coastline. Two birds, one stone!
They call their company Glass Half Full, and so far they’ve more than 2 million pounds of glass in order to restore Louisiana’s shoreline.
Glass Half Full collects glass donations at their recycling center, and they also provide a door-to-door pickup service for residences and businesses in several parishes. After collection, the glass is sorted by color and all metal and plastic parts are separated.
The next step in the process is grinding up the glass into different degrees of fineness. Some of the ground glass will be turned into eco-construction materials, some create new glass, and others are turned back into what they started out as sand.
This man-made solution to an environmental issue provides local jobs in and around New Orleans and transforms “waste” into a resource. Plus, they’re educating their community about the benefits of recycling with tangible results that have no downside.
In 2021, their environmental efforts were recognized with The Most Innovative Program award from the Keep Louisiana Beautiful Conference.
Glass Half Full aims to “reimagine” recycling, and they’re well on their way to changing the face of Louisiana. It’s this sort of innovation and ingenuity that will change the world someday!
Share this story to celebrate two young people doing their part to help the world around them.
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