Glass overflowing

Recycling company seeking outlets for processed product

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COEUR d'ALENE - If the nonprofit Coeur d'Alene Glass Recycling Co. can't find some large volume-takers for its processed glass it will have to end operations in January.

Ben and Melissa Mello started the nonprofit earlier this year because there was no glass recycling in Coeur d'Alene. Recently, the couple reached out to businesses, individuals and cities to ask if they could take some of the processed glass that has been backing up in the warehouse off their hands - for free.

"It won't make any sense to keep doing it unless we find someone who wants to use the product," Ben Mello said. "I'm hoping people will come out and see the product."

The pulverized glass, called cullet, has a lot of possible uses. He listed a few, including water filtration, sandblasting, landfill cover, sand traps, beach sand, sand bags to weight vehicles, hydroponics, ice control, aggregate for roads, landscaping, retaining-wall blocks, pottery, drainpipe bedding and septic drainage fields.

Right now, the nonprofit is sitting on approximately 60 18-gallon bins full of cullet, in colors like green, brown and white.

There is no money available to transport it to another market where it would get gobbled up by users.

There are 200 "members" who have signed up to have their glass recycled, and there is a waiting list of 200 others who want to participate, too. The members include individuals and businesses.

Those members donate money to pay for leased warehouse space, maintenance for the pulverizing machine, electricity, insurance and recycling bins.

There are eight regular volunteers who operate Coeur d'Alene Glass Recycling every other Saturday.

Coeur d'Alene Glass Recycling operates in a warehouse in an industrial area in north Coeur d'Alene. Mello doesn't give out the specific address to prevent random drop-offs of glass.

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