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Turning bottles into sand

Tucson (Sierra Vista) KOLD logo Tucson (Sierra Vista) KOLD 1/1/2020 Bud Foster
a close up of food: Turning bottles into sand © Provided by Tucson (Sierra Vista) KOLD Turning bottles into sand

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The city of Tucson has a recycling problem.

It loses $3 million a year, a half million of that on glass — much of it glass bottles.

It's been holding discussions about ending the collection of glass bottle for recycling.

But now, Ward 6 council member Steve Kozachik believes he may have found a way to turn that liability into a positive.

He found a glass to sand crusher on the internet in New Zealand.

Environmental Services bought it for him for $6,000.

He's ecstatic about the results.

It takes only three seconds to turn a wind bottle into find silica sand.

It's a more dense sand than is found in the sand pits and quarries North of Tucson.

"You can use it for making concrete for roadbeds, asphalt," he said. "We're just going to us it on a retail scale to fill sandbags for people who come in here for the monsoon season."

It takes about a case of beer and two cases of wine to fill a five gallon bucket with sand.

But commercially, with the thousands of bottles the city residents dump in the landfill, it may fill a need.

"We have not been very creative in the way we recycle and we create too much garbage," Kozachik said. "But the garbage we are going to create, let's put it to good use."

Kozachik would like to see the city put it to use on a commercial scale which may be an innovative way to begin the 2020's.

They're going to put dumpsters behind the bars and restaurants on Fourth Avenue during the New Year's festivities to see how many bottles they collect.

Right now, he can't get enough glass to make it seem any more than a novelty.

“I think we can demonstrate to Environmental Services if we can do this on a retail scale, they can scale it up on a commercial level and use if for construction around town.”

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

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