Frustrated by the lack of glass recycling options in New Orleans, Franziska Trautmann and Max Steitz decided to take action during their senior year at Tulane University. Word spread quickly. “We decided to launch a GoFundMe campaign to the community and see what happened. In the first one or two days of the campaign only three people had donated … and one was Max anonymously,” says Trautmann. “However, after a few news articles about our plan, the fundraiser really took off and New Orleans showed us that they really want the opportunity to recycle.” Now, the team at Glass Half Full NOLA has already diverted thousands of pounds of recyclable glass away from landfills.
Residents are welcome to drop off nearly any glass products for free at Glass Half Full’s two locations: 3935 Louisa St. in Gentilly and 911 Joliet St. in Uptown. (Check their website or sign up for their email newsletter for operating days and times.) In addition, the team also has a waiting list for monthly no-contact, curbside pick-ups for all your recyclable glass.
What happens to the bottles and jars you give Glass Half Full? As part of the recycling process, the glass is converted into sand or new glass cutlet that can be used for coastal restoration projects, disaster relief, eco-construction and even new glass products. Whether it’s filling sandbags for storm protection or contributing to erosion protection, the recycled glass can help the New Orleans area in many ways.
The team at Glass Half Full has already made an amazing impact on the city’s recycling scene. “I think our biggest success has been starting from zero dollars and operating out of a backyard to occupying two full warehouses and recycling over 30,000 pounds of glass per week,” says Trautmann. The team hopes to keep the operations growing with the city’s high demand for glass recycling, and ultimately expand into more areas such as the Northshore or Lafayette.
Donations and financial support are always welcome. In particular, the Glass Half Full team is seeking funds to help automate their glass pulverization process, which currently involves hand-feeding bottles into the pulverizing machine and hand-sifting it afterward. Volunteers are also invited to get involved in the glass recycling process on a first-hand basis.