Glass Recycling

Glass is a commodity with a zero-or even negative-value. Recycling companies will likely stop taking glass in the near future (or will charge us for taking it). Our answer was to begin separating and crushing glass, here on island, to create useful, reusable material that stays right here on Orcas. Since the purchase of “Big Blue”, our glass crushing machine, we have crushed over 150 tons of glass, saving thousands of dollars shipping glass off the island. Besides many uses for art projects and landscaping, geologic testing shows the crushed glass meets WA DOT standards for about 20 uses in place of other aggregate, like sand.

The Orcas Glass Challenge Projects

Rinda McGarry: Crushed glass used in walkway landscaping

Joyce Pearson: Crushed glass used in Zen Garden

Nancy Schafer: Crushed glass used in flower arrangement

Chuck Greening: Crushed glass mixed with white cement 

Jenny Johnston’s 1st grade class created the “Thinking Bench”

Mark King and Sylvia Albright

“We used the newly available crushed glass this spring 2022 for our concrete paver patio. The material was great to work with and we found it to be better for this application than the standard of paver sand as a base. After compacting our crushed rock base, we applied ¾” to 1” of the crushed glass instead of sand and screed it flat. The crushed glass did not stick to everything like sand likes to once it is wet. It was easy to dust off pavers, gloves, tools, etc. It compacted very well under the pavers and was very easy to adjust depth as pavers were being placed and leveled in. The crushed glass is 30% lighter than sand according to multiple websites which makes it easier to transport and move around as well.”