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Recycling company's cup runneth over

“There’s already so much plastic and other stuff going into the landfills so why add to it with glass when we can recycle it?” said Duplan.

NEW ORLEANS — It’s been one year since Glass Half Full became New Orleans’ first local glass recycler, and – pun intended -  they’ve been crushing it.

“This has grown into something that’s grown wildly past our expectations… anything that we could have ever imagined,” said Max Steitz, co-founder of the organization.

We first introduced you to Glass Half Full a year ago, when the founders were college kids with just a few donation bins throughout the city.

Now, Steitz and the team are in a 40-thousand square foot warehouse in the Desire neighborhood.

And in that year, they’ve launched a non-profit called Glass Roots to boost their outreach and education. ( https://www.weareglassroots.org/ )

They have a quarter-million followers on TikTok, and they’ve collected and crushed 650-thousand pounds of glass.

“Beer bottles, wine bottles, liquor bottles, spaghetti jars,” said Steitz as he showed us around the warehouse.  “We are one of the only glass recycling facilities in the entire region. So, folks are coming from all over the city, all over the state.”

He said donations come in three times a week; Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Wednesday afternoon, New Orleans area residents dropped off beer bottles, wine bottles, and other glass.

Brady Duplan says he works not far away from the drop-off site.

“There’s already so much plastic and other stuff going into the landfills so why add to it with glass when we can recycle it?” said Duplan.

When barrels are full of donations, they’re wheeled inside the warehouse and back to a machine that crushes the glass.

In the end, some of the glass is turned into super-fine sand and some is turned into a grittier mix known as cullet.

The products can be used for disaster relief, like sandbags for hurricanes, and, to make new glass products.

“Especially for a city and state that drinks as much as we do. Produces as much glass, you know, there’s a real opportunity,” said Steitz.

After only a year, those opportunities keep coming.

The next step, they say, is certifications to use their materials in city projects and rebuilding the coast.

Simultaneously, they’ll be keeping more glass out of the trash.

“By next year we want to recycle millions of pounds of glass from Louisiana landfills,” he said.

“We want to, you know, ultimately get every single piece of glass produced in the city that’s headed to the landfill diverted to this facility and turned into sand, turned into cullet, something that we can use over and over again.”

You can drop off the glass at the warehouse at 3935 Louisa Street Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We started with an idea and a college backyard. Nearly six months later, our initiative has recycled tens of thousands of pounds of glass across New Orleans, converting it into sand that's used for coastal restoration, disaster relief sandbags, eco-construction, new glass production, and so much more!

To sign up for curbside pickup of glass: https://glasshalffullnola.org/residents

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