A New Beginning for Bottles: Recycling Glass into Concrete

Next Thursday, January 21 at 6:00 there will be a panel discussion about a recent NYC pilot program in which post-consumer glass is recycled into concrete, hosted by the Urban Green Council (register here). 

According to Urban Green’s (cleverly titled) preview article, Sims Recycling Facility teamed up with Building Product Ecosystems (BPE) to figure out how to use the overabundance of post-consumer glass productively. Replacing the cement used in concrete - which is usually created with fly ash byproduct - with ground up glass presented itself as an excellent option. The recycled glass would minimize transportation costs and emissions, since it’s generated right here in New York, and would provide a more reliable supply for concrete producers. It even has a shorter average cure time than fly ash, according to BPE, making the production process more efficient overall.

These kinds of collaborative, material-based connections are vital in building towards a closed-loop system. Only 60% of all collected post-consumer glass is actually recycled in NYC - by reappropriating the remaining 40% back into production, we would tackle two problems at once! By getting creative with materials already in the production cycle, we have an opportunity to work towards a zero-waste system within the industrial sector.


Tessa Rosenberry

Tessa is the Design & Communications Manager and Co-Founder of Return Recycling. She's a senior at NYU in environmental studies, also studying fine arts, cinema, and Spanish. Currently employed at NYU's Office of Sustainability, she has worked with the National Parks Service, GrowNYC and Sprout Up in environmental education and engagement. An aspiring banjo player, she also enjoys wandering, good humor, and snacks.