Glassroots conducts last collection and glass recycling demonstration of 2023

Glassroots conducts their final collection and demonstration of the year.
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 11:00 AM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Nov. 3, Glassroots, a glass recycling operation in Fairbanks, Alaska, conducted their final collection and demonstration event of 2023.

There’s plenty of glass in our society, from windows to bottles. Much of this glass winds up in the trash when it reaches the end of its use. However, some interior community members are in pursuit of better uses for used glass and the efforts, while small in man power, are growing but face barriers to further implementation.

Friday night marked the final collection of glass for recycling by Glassroots, but it also provided the public a chance to learn more about the process, and how they can get involved.

Wave by wave, visitors walked through the door of Green Star of Interior Alaska where the demonstration took place. When they came in they could see the entire process of collection, sorting, preparing, processing, and the final product. This included the removing of labels, which can jam the glass crusher, followed by the crushing of the glass and the sand it produces.

While the machine is just one of ten in the entire country, Glassroots faces a few obstacles, one of which is the large supply of glass and limited storage.

“It’s stored at my house, in my garage or outside of my garage. Where most people keep a wood pile, we have a glass pile until I can crush it all and I try to have most of it crushed until I have my next collection which does motivate me to keep it moving,” said Erin Keiper the owner and operator of Glassroots.

An abundance of glass also means an abundance of glass sand, which is the final product. While the sand has many uses from concrete to art work, the large quantity has proven to be a challenge for Keiper as she is still paying for the machine with the sales from the sand.

Keiper says Green Star has been helping her find distributors and users of the sand, but she’s also interested in any uses the community sees for it. “There are a lot of researched uses for the sand product and we’ve used it a lot on our own property for different reasons and I’ve highlighted that our Glassroots website,” said Keiper. “But, we’re really interested to see what the community wants to do with it and just it however we can to give back to the environment.”

According to Keiper, the sand is safe to handle and use, having worked with it herself many times, even rubbing the sand in her bare hands without injury.