College Students Found Company to Turn Glass Into Sand and Rebuild Coastline


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by LIVEKINDLY (@livekindly)

Recycle, recycle, recycle—this imperative has been drilled into the head of the public for years. However, problems with the recycling system itself can defeat even the best intentions. For example, New Orleans, Louisiana, does not recycle glass through its normal processes. Even one glass bottle can send an entire recycling bin to a landfill. Two students at Tulane University—Franziska Trautmann and Max Steitz—set out to solve this problem of wasted glass. Creating a company called Glass Half Full, they have since recycled over 2 million pounds of glass while also helping repair the eroding Louisiana coastline.

From a conversation over a bottle of wine to a warehouse in New Orleans, the young founders' company has grown exponentially over only a couple of years. The company accepts drop-off donations of glass, which is then ground down into varying levels of fineness. Some is transformed into cullet or gravel. These rougher materials are used in restoration projects, eco-construction, and to create new glass. Other glass is turned into sand—the material that glass has been made from for millennia.

The fine sand has a special use. It is critical to rebuilding Louisiana's swiftly eroding coastline. Since the 1930s, over a quarter of the state's wetlands have eroded. The land cannot naturally be replenished fast enough. Adding human-made sand can help reclaim this space and protect existing environments. Burlap sand bags are critical to this mission as well as disaster relief. The burlap is biodegradable, eventually leaving only the new sediment behind. Since dwindling natural sand reserves are expensive and environmentally unfriendly to excavate, a man-made solution which recycles while producing a usable product is an environmental godsend. The company hopes it will both restore the local ecosystems while also providing jobs, truly a glass half full approach to environmentalism.

Two seniors at Tulane University—Franziska Trautmann and Max Steitz—started an innovative glass recycling solution.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Glass Half Full (@glasshalffull.nola)

They collect glass bottles and turn them into sand, which is then used to rebuild the Louisiana coastline.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Glass Half Full (@glasshalffull.nola)

Their organization Glass Half Full is fighting to recycle, preserve coastline, and shore up against natural disasters.

Rijksmuseum: Website | Instagram | Facebook
h/t: [Business Insider]

Related Articles:

Study Finds That Biking Like the Dutch Would Lower Global Emissions by 756 Million Tons

Floating Contra-Rotating Wind Turbines That Can Produce Double the Energy

Patagonia’s Founder Gives Up Ownership of $3 Billion Company to Help Fight Climate Change

Scientists Create Device To Turn Moisture in the Air Into Hydrogen Fuel

Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content