Eliminating Landfill Space
Magnum Pavers’ Terry Kirk discusses how the company uses crushed beer bottles to help make concrete products and keep waste out of the landfills.
Discuss the company’s services/product offered.
Star Pre-Cast Conrete/Magnum Pavers (Parachute, CO) is a 20-year old company that has been involved in recycling for four years. Our service is pre-cast concrete – anything there is, we make. A few years ago wecame up with a useful way to use the glass beer bottles here in western rural Colorado in order to keep them out of landfills. At that time there was no recycling process.
Why do you use glass bottles in the magnum paver and concrete materials?
All these rural towns in western Colorado are small, 3,000 to 8,000 people towns and they all have an immense amount of glass. The cost and logistics to transport the glass to another facility is considerable, so they do not recycle glass in those areas. The bottles just pile up in the landfills. We came up with a way to eliminate the discarded glass that takes up valuable landfill space.
Discuss the steps of the breakdown/creation process.
We crush the bottles with an Andela glass crusher that’s made specifically for crushing glass bottles, making sand and aggregate. As it comes out as sand and gravel, we blend that back into the mix design we want to make quality concrete and getting a 90 percent reduction by volume.
For example, all of these small towns have beat up alleys (20’ x 600’ is a typical size), so if you were to make that alley with magnum pavers, that’s 2.4 million beer bottles used—totally recycled, totally reusable. Now, in these alleys all the utilities—gas, phone, electric, water, sewer, etc.—runs under them so whenever a repair has to be done in a paved alley, they have to dig it up, do the repair and then it falls on someone else to repave it. With the magnum pavers, you just lift them out, do the repair and put them back in. Its such a locally responsive product that anyone that has a truck can even pave their own yards with recycled product. We’ve also shredded cardboard and made these magnum pavers out of that. We use those for water ditches where water comes out of a culvert on a newly constructed project, and after about 15 to 20 weather events, the cardboard paver dissipates into the earth.
Why are only glass and cardboard used, why not plastic and metal?
There is such a high price being paid for recycled metals right now that it’s not economically feasible. If someone has a cause for a metal paver, we can definitely do it, there’s no question. However, the idea of this is to recycle a now wasteful product (glass). One of the major beer manufacturers will buy brown bottles from us only if they’re in an aggregate size but they don’t pay enough money to pay the freight to get it to them. With this product, you can take, green, blue, red, clear, etc.—it doesn’t matter because it is crushed up and turned into sand and aggregate and used in the mix.
On the other hand, we don’t use plastic because it has no structural strength to it and it’s not good to put out in the middle of the field. It would be okay to use it on the drain system but then when the water dissipates, you would still have to go pick up the plastic because it never goes away.
How do the glass bottles come to you?
We have residents that bring them to us and we go pick them up in neighborhoods. Our problem now is that we’ve created this huge demand for glass and we can’t get enough of it. If there is a recycler out there looking to repurpose the glass, this is the perfect solution.
What are the ultimate goals the company is trying to achieve in using this process and how does it benefit end users and recyclers?
Our goal is the sell the magnum paver molds and get recyclers to use the glass and cardboard in the product itself. However, it has to be brought to the attention of the towns. I’ve physically taken these pavers to the municipalities and county government and county landfills and all they tell me is I can’t do it and yet there it is in their hands. The common practice is to pile up the glass or bury it. This is the best solution for recycling glass bottles and keeping our landfills from being overloaded with a reusable product.
For more information, visit www.magnumpavers.com.