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.

DIY Halloween Decorations: Recycled Ghosts

By Moonrose Cheng

Photo: Moonrose Cheng

Photo: Moonrose Cheng

Halloween is coming up soon and you know what that means…decorating time!

Today I’ll be showing you a super easy way to make mini ghosts by reusing your plastic bags.

Did you know? According to National Retail Foundation, U.S. spending on decorations for Halloween in 2015 will amount to $1.9 billion.

The mass production of decorations can generate lots of waste. Many of these items end up in the landfill, polluting everything around it. However, you can reuse and make your own Halloween decorations. Save money and the earth!

What you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • White plastic bags
  • Colored permanent markers


1. Cut off the handles of the plastic bag.

2. Cut the bag into either rectangles or circles. Whatever shape you choose, it will determine the bottom edges of the ghost.

3. Fold the piece in half and twist the middle, so the top section looks like a balloon and the bottom forms a skirt. See picture for reference.

4. Tape the twisted part so it doesn’t come undone.

5. Use your fingers to puff out the balloon part to make your ghost have a head.

6. Get your permanent markers and draw a face!

7, Tape it to the wall, or hang them in a row.


You’re done!

Share your ghosts with us by tagging us in your Instagram photos @returnrecycling

Happy Halloween! Be safe!


Photo: http://quotesfans.com/wp-content/uploads/Happy-Halloween-04.jpg

Photo: http://quotesfans.com/wp-content/uploads/Happy-Halloween-04.jpg