911 Glass Rescue holds ribbon cutting, grand opening

RuthEdna Keys/LCM This state-of-the art glass crusher is capable of pulverizing 1-2 tons of glass per hour. Rotary of Lake Chelan 911 Glass Rescue is open on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m.-noon. They will be charging 2 cents per pound for glass drop-off. Buckets of the materials produced, sand and aggregate, will be available for purchase at $5 per 5-gallon bucket. City of Chelan residents are asked not to put glass into their blue recycle bins, but to bring it out on Saturday mornings to 23235 Highway 97A across from WalMart.

Julie McCoy, Lake Chelan Rotary, 911 Glass Rescue

A glass recycling center called 911 Glass Rescue opened on Saturday, July 24. Glass  is recycled at the center using a state-of-the art glass system which is capable of pulverizing 1-2 tons of glass per hour. Glass recycling services are available at 23235 Highway 97A at the Chelan Transfer Station from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.
“This is Washington wine country, as you know, so we're producing a lot of wine bottles in this valley. And the last couple of years, they've all been going into the trash,” said Julie McCoy, Lake Chelan Rotary member and volunteer with 911 Glass Rescue.  
McCoy said that every year Americans dispose of 9 to 11 million tons of glass in landfills. This leads to the early retirement of landfills. Further, glass takes a lot of energy to produce so using glass once and disposing of it is inefficient.   
It is unfortunate that so much glass is in landfills because glass is endlessly recyclable, McCoy said. When Lake Chelan took away glass recycling there was a public outcry, she said. Some Chelan residents would take their glass to the Seattle area to recycle it, but a lot of that glass does not actually get recycled, according to McCoy.
“So it's a nationwide problem, And we have come up with a local solution to it,” McCoy said.
Manson High School students Megan Clausen and Devyn Smith, who helped bring glass recycling to Chelan, were at the grand opening of the event, McCoy said. Smith and Clausen bought a single bottle crusher to Chelan and were crushing glass in Clausen's parents garage, McCoy said. They would take the crusher to the Earth Day fair and other places.
“Now they've gone off to college. And, yeah, there's not a lot of manpower to do one bottle at a time,” she said
With the new industrial glass pulverizing system, glass recycling is a lot more efficient. On opening day, 911 Glass Rescue recycled 2 tons of glass, McCoy said. A lot of the glass came from the Chelan area, with a large quantity from local wineries.
The glass is pulverized by the machine and turned into extremely fine glass sand and a larger aggregate. There are many uses for the glass sand and aggregate, McCoy said. The pulverized glass can be used in many construction, agricultural and landscaping settings. It is also approved for use in septic drainfields and can be used for art projects.
Using the pulverized glass for landscaping and agricultural use has many benefits. The sand has a negative charge that attracts water, repels pests, and is a great weed barrier, McCoy said. In the wintertime, the sand is a thermal blanket and reflects light back up to the plants.
A combination of aggregate and sand is best for landscaping, McCoy said. Larger aggregate sits at the stalk of the plant, letting moisture easily drain from the surface of the soil. The water drains down to a layer of finer sand that retains moisture at the plant’s roots.
911 Glass Rescue received $100,000 in public money and raised $61,000 in sponsorship money and donations, McCoy said. The City of Chelan gave $50,000 towards the purchase of the glass recycling system. The Washington State Department of Ecology gave $50,000 through a new recycling development center program.
Local donors include Chelan Valley Farms which sponsored the glass recycling center at the $10,000 level, McCoy said. Hard Row To Hoe Vineyards and Amos Rome Vineyards sponsored the center at the $5,000 level. Many vineyards, including Wapato Point Cellars, Tsillan Cellars, Lake Chelan Winery and Benson Vineyards Estate Winery sponsored the project at the $2,500 level.
Other local sponsors include Fielding Hills Winery, Nefarious Cellars, Campbell’s Resort  Cairdeas Winery, Tildio Winery, KOZI Community Radio, and Chelan Earth Day Fair, according to the 911 Glass Rescue website. Now that the glass recycling center is up and running, even more local businesses are stepping in to sponsor the center.
Rio Vista Wines is a new winery sponsor and Bob Jankelson of Tsillan Cellars offered to buy the center a new piece of equipment, McCoy said. The local sponsorships and donations were necessary because of the considerable expenses for the startup of the operation beyond the cost of the $120,000 glass crushing machine.  
 These extra expenses included a forklift that was donated by the city, McCoy said. Self-tipping bins cost $5,000 and industrial pallets cost $2,000. Other random items like cash boxes, safety equipment and a grease gun add to the costs of running the recycling center.
In order to help pay for maintenance costs for the glass recycling machine and other equipment, it costs 2 cents per pound to recycle glass with a minimum fee of $1.
Additionally, the finished product is sold for $5 per five-gallon bucket, McCoy said.
The city does not allow for drop off of materials at the recycling center so glass must be delivered on Saturday mornings when glass recycling is in operation. The glass recycling machine can only operate on the weekends because the city recycling center is in operation Monday through Friday, McCoy said.
Theoretically the glass recycling system could be open on Sundays but the operation is labor intensive and more volunteers would be needed for the center to be open twice a week, McCoy said. It is easy to sign up to volunteer at the 911 Glass Rescue Website, https://911glassrescue.org/
911 Glass Rescue is a non-profit and if any excess cash is left over after covering operating costs that money will be used for community purposes like the Rotary scholarship program, McCoy said.

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