Gaining support from local businesses and wineries, two Manson High School students are setting up to tackle a growing issue in their community—recycling glass.
“We lost community recycling during our junior year last Spring, and both of our families are huge recyclers so this was a big deal to us,” said Megan Clausen. “We did a lot more in-depth research on why not only our community lost recycling but also why communities around the U.S. are losing recycling.”
Clausen and her classmate Devyn Smith say their research shows a lack of financial incentive for companies to continue to recycle various materials, specifically glass.
“There’s no money in recycling as of right now, and Zippy Disposal Service started a recycling business but that didn’t involve glass recycling,” Clausen said. “We were looking at what could we do– we know our Valley has a lot of glass being distributed every day.”
After talking with NorthShore Cafe owner Carman Fretwell about what they could do to help, Smith and Clausen say that’s when they learned about a machine that crushes glass into sand.
“She mentioned a couple of years ago that they brought down a machine called the GLSand and it crushes the glass into a fine sand or grit,” Clausen said.
The mobile machine can crush a glass bottle in three to five seconds, producing a multi-use product.
“Gardens, it can go back into asphalt, or you can re-melt it into more glass so you can make little glass projects,” Smith said. “We’re going to be putting it into sandbags and that’s going to be our main use for it right now.”
Using the idea as their senior service project, Smith and Clausen have met with local businesses to partner with their project like Mill Bay Construction, Wine Girl Wines, Hard Row to Hoe, Radiance along with NorthShore Cafe and Lake Chelan Building Supply.
“We’ve met so many amazing community members, we talked with Mayor Cooney a few weeks ago and met with lots of local people who are interested in this and really want to help us out,” Clausen said.
Whether it’s participating in school sports or volunteering their time for other local projects, Clausen and Smith say this project was a bigger way to get involved in their community.
“Both of us are really involved in the community anyway, so we thought this would be cool to start,” Smith said.
As more community members look to get involved, the two seniors say they welcome anyone interested in this project.
“You can say it’s really great but actually getting involved in that requires a lot more work, so lots of people have come to us willing to help with whatever we need,” Clausen said. “Donations have been a really big thing, we have a GoFundMe page along with [donation] jars around different wineries.”
The GLSand costs $6,000 and the plan is to house the machine at NorthShore Cafe, while selling sand bags at Lake Chelan Building Supply. Clausen and Smith plan to involve the rest of their school on the project, giving their classmates opportunities to volunteer and keep the process going after they graduate.
To donate to their project or to contact Megan and Devyn, find their Glass to Sand at Lake Chelan project at GoFundMe.com.