With their goal to keep as much of the island’s waste out of the landfill as possible, the Island Green Building Association aims to raise $76,528 to buy and outfit a glass crusher for St. John.
The glass crusher idea was tried unsuccessfully once before by other groups and assortments of people, but IGBA Director Barry Devine thinks this time it will get off the ground.
He said the price of the glass crusher has dropped to a third of what it was, which will help with the effort. And while the earlier groups were able to buy the glass crusher, they lacked the money to buy the additional equipment needed to get the project going, he said.
Additionally, those earlier groups never came up with a definite place to house the glass crusher. Devine said the problem is solved because IGBA will operate the glass crusher at the same location as its ReSource Depot on Gifft Hill Road, across from the Susannaberg landfill. The ReSource Depot sells construction materials donated by contractors and residents who have finished their projects. The materials are sold cheaply to those who can put them to use.
IGBA hopes to have the glass crusher up and running within about a year.
The ball is already rolling on raising the money. Devine said a donor has pledged $10,000 toward the effort.
The glass crusher will be solar powered. It will pulverize glass waste down to the size of a grain of sand, making it ideal for reuse in water filters, landscaping, concrete, and asphalt. IGBA plans to sell 50-pound bags of the pulverized glass at the ReSource Depot. The resulting pulverized glass would be competitively priced with bags of sand sold on St. Thomas.
“You get a sellable product right out of the machine,” IGBA board member Doug White said. “We estimate it can process between 45 and 90 percent of St. John’s glass.”
According to IGBA, the island’s waste is approximately five-percent glass, accounting for 680 tons annually.
“The glass crusher would take care of a phenomenal amount of glass that gets thrown away every year,” IGBA volunteer Kristin Hawk said.
With the Environmental Protection Agency ordering St. Thomas landfills closed by 2019 , the territory will need to look at creative ways to dispose of its waste, White explained.
“Glass is a reusable resource,” White said. “It’s already on the island, so transportation and shipping are not necessary, and the material is virtually free except for the collection efforts. We can reuse it right here on St. John.”
IGBA plans to collect the glass alongside aluminum can collection points that stand at many island trash bins.
In addition to reducing the amount of waste produced by island residents and visitors, the solar powered glass crusher will also benefit the island by helping to free up St. John Capital Improvement Fund money, explained White.
“Right now, shipment of our waste to St. Thomas is paid for by the St. John Capital Improvement Fund,” White said. “That money should be going toward doing projects on St. John, not being used to haul trash. The more waste we can process on St. John, the more we can free up the fund for needed improvements on St. John.”
Those interested can donate money for the purchase of the crusher online at razoo.com/story/Island-Green-Building-Association.