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April 21, 2010
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest will soon be mixing tiny shards of glass into its potting soil, concrete and ice melt - and saving money in the process - thanks to a glass recycling machine recently purchased for the University.
The machine, which arrived on the Northwest campus about a month ago, was purchased for the University by ARAMARK. It is capable of producing up to 500 pounds of ground glass per hour. The ground glass particles are so small they can be picked up like a handful of sand. The University also has ordered a special screen for the machine that will make the particles even finer.
Made by Minnesota-based Glass Aggregate Systems and costing about $14,000, the machine weighs just 624 pounds and stands about 5 feet tall.
"It's unbelievable," said John Redden, associate director of maintenance, plants and transportation. "Whatever it cost, it was the right thing to do for the community."
Redden added, "It's glass we can recycle right here on campus. We can use it to fill, we can use it in our flower pots, you can even use it on sidewalks in winter time for ice. It's just like sand. This is the thing to do."
The machine is equipped with a vacuum to help remove and separate paper wrappers from the bottles. The bottles must be empty and the lids must be removed before they can be recycled.
Students and staff are now being trained to use the machine, which is located at the University's Pellet Plant. In addition to its uses as aggregate in soil and concrete, Environmental Services staff plan to use the particles for sandblasting.
"We're in the infant stage," said Dr. Paul McGraw, director of Environmental Services. "There are so many uses for this aggregate. We're identifying what's in the best interests of the University."
McGraw credited the University's recycling committee, which began discussing the idea of purchasing a recycling machine about two years ago, based on requests from students and Maryville residents. Committee members also traveled to Truman State University to see its recycling machine and talk to staff there.
"This process is taking what we already use on our campus and recycling it to save money for the purchase of sand," said Roger Totten, who chairs the recycling committee. "As the process grows, we're going to have a lot more glass to recycle."
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468