Andela Products showcases
glass recycling facility
Andela Products, Ltd., (APL) a manufacturer
of glass crushing machinery, is in the process of setting up a glass
crushing operation to showcase their equipment. “It was an
obvious thing for our company to do as the next step,” Cynthia
Andela said. APL has been selling integrated glass pulverizing systems
for some time. Building an entire plant was “a natural evolution,”
according to Andela.
“We now have equipment in
place,” Andela said. The plant will be up and running by the
end of the year, and the end product will be available during the
first quarter of next year.
The glass for the crushing operation
will come from the Oneida-Herkimer Counties’ solid waste management
facility, and it is material that used to be landfilled rather than
Andela said she expects to handle
10,000 tons of material per year at this facility, making it both
a showcase for APL’s machinery, and also a separate profit
center for APL.
The profit factor proves a point:
the glass that comes out of MRFs doesn’t have to be “bottom-feeder”
material; it can emerge as clean, high-end landscaping material,
as well as other product. Andela said, “It takes a liability
issue and turns it into profitability.”
Andela explained that this complete
system solves several problems associated with reclaiming glass
from municipal waste streams. “We want to show people the
plant, so they can see how it works,” she said. “They
haven’t seen a prototype that takes it from soup to nuts.”
“If you show them the raw
material,” Andela explained, “it can have paper, bits
of organics,” which makes it unappealing to potential end-users.
But with APL’s process, “It’s going to be sanitized.”
“People don’t like
to do washing,” Andela said, and one of the reasons is the
discharge from the washing systems. APL’s plant has solved
that problem with a system that will take the dirty water, clean
it and recirculate it. The operation will have as close to zero
discharge as possible and the water that is discharged will be “clean
enough to water your lawn,” she said.
Even more appealing, from the end-user’s
standpoint, is that there are no sharp edges to worry about. Those
edges are removed during the process that tumbles, rather than crushes
the glass. It gets tumbled again during the washing process, and
again during screening. During all of those steps, the glass rubs
against itself. “Like beach glass, but a lot faster,”
After a final drying process, the product is ready
to be bagged in fifty-pound bags or one-ton super-sacks. The super-sacks
fit on a 4x4x4 pallet. “You can still put it on a pallet and
ship it,” Andela said.
APL is planning on selling two separate products.
The finest material, good for sandblasting or use as a sand substitute
for other applications, will be called “White Beauty.”
Larger pieces, like fine gravel, will be called “Sun Stone,”
and Andela anticipates a good market for it as a high-end landscaping
She said that a similar product is being imported
from Thailand. “We’ve got bottles going into landfills,
and we’re buying this from overseas,” she said. But
it proves the point that there is already a market for the product.
“Sun Stone makes a wonderful mulch,”
Andela said, noting that it’s ideal for dry areas. It keeps
the moisture in the soil and also reflects light, which helps plant
growth. Another plus is that the material doesn’t fade, so
the color a consumer buys is the one they will always have.
“The nice thing about Sun Stone is that
it’s heavy,” Andela said. Unlike light mulches like
bark or wood chips, you can use a leaf blower, or rake through it
without any problem. “It just stays put; it doesn’t
On the other hand, it’s not a consumable
product, “The downside is that people buy it, and it will
last for a hundred years,” Andela said. But there are other
uses that are consumable, such as sandblasting. Andela explained
that natural sand produces hazardous dust, but glass sand does not,
because it has been fired.
Mixed-colored glass will be available first, but
Andela noted that as color-separated glass comes in, they set it
aside for special runs. Sorting colors may come later. She noted
that green glass, which is the least desirable for recycling into
new bottles, may end up being the most desirable for landscaping.
“It will look great on a driveway,” she said. She also
predicted that mixed green and brown will be popular for landscaping.
Andela envisions these systems being used by partnerships
between public and private entities. “The public entity wants
it, but the private entity runs the business and markets it.”
In some cases, the municipality will do it all, she said.
A mid-sized system will handle 10,000 tons per
year, which Andela estimates would be enough for a couple of small
cities or a medium-sized city. “It’s like an urban mine,”
she said. “The MRF just keeps generating the glass.”
Andela’s plant is a modular setup, with
four shipping containers used in lieu of buildings. Andela said,
“When somebody sees it, and they say “I want one of
those,’ we can provide it as a kit.”
“It’s really exciting,” Andela
said. “I think it’s going to turn around the glass recycling