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Don't throw out that soda bottle! Local company saving space in our landfills by recycling tons of glass

Local company saving mountains of space in our landfill by turning glass into sandblast material
Posted at 10:14 AM, Feb 12, 2024

BOISE — A southeast Boise company called Environmental Abrasives is recycling most of the glass collected in the Treasure Valley. For the past 10 years it has created a market for glass as a medium for sandblasting. But it says it needs even more.

  • Environmental Abrasives turned more than two million pounds of glass into abrasives last year.
  • The sandblast material is used on all sorts of massive projects. Everything from cleaning rust and paint from military ships to sand blasting car panels.
  • Biggest challenge is removing lids and labels.
  • EA says it needs the public to step up and recycle more glass.
  • EA says it could use three times the amount of glass it takes in now.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Most of our glass ends up in the landfill. Uncrushed it takes a lot of space.

I”m senior reporter Roland Beres and there’s a company that’s willing to take every bit of glass we consume and turn it into a useful product.

And the fun part, it doesn’t matter if it gets smashed up.

What looks like a giant sand dune in East Boise is actually millions of smashed bottles pulled from the garbage stream.

2335 “Then we have to immediately crush it or the pile would be ten times the size.”

Environmental abrasives has been using nearly every bit of glass from the Treasure Valley that would normally end up in the landfill and putting it to good use as sand blast material.

12:14 every bit of glass you can get your hands on you’re taking right? It comes to us yes.1225 and if you could get five times more you would take it? Yes. We would take it. Yup.”

And you might wonder, how much of this stuff can you really use?

The answer is a lot.

The company that took down the old Nampa water tower has used 200 thousand pounds on one project and it’s not even finished.

40:36 we’re actually an industrial painting contractor as well and were in the process of sand blasting a tank which is using glass medium and I asked where it comes from and they said it’s a partnership with the city of boise all the recycled glass goes to them they crush it and turn it into sand blasting medium for us.”

They compete with companies that use cheap mining slag for sand blasting material, but EA says their product is better.

But contamination with metal lids and plastic labels makes it a challenge to produce.

3123 so this plostic goes through that pile through that crusher through five different screening things and a kiln and it still makes it all the way through the process.3200 And we pull that out with a vacuum essentially to get the last of that out.”

Nelson says he’s getting costs down close to his biggest competitor.

1500 what we’re trying to do is take that slag market away.”

His company now produces over two million pounds of glass abrasives a year.

That’s space saved in our local landfill and he’s hoping to do more.

All he needs is more people to recycle.


In boise and meridian, you can get curbside glass recycling for a monthly fee. Or you can drop off your glass at the meridian transfer station and there’s several dozen drop off sites in boise. Just go to the city’s website to find the one near you.

In boise, Roland Beres sen. Reporter Idaho news six.