Glass recycling company to remain in business

Individuals, agencies offer to take cullet off its hands

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COEUR d'ALENE - The nonprofit Coeur d'Alene Glass Recycling Co. founder said recycling will continue in 2014.

Founder Ben Mello said last month it looked like operations would cease, as the pulverized glass - called cullet - was building up in the warehouse and there weren't enough takers of the free material.

"This past month, we have started working with a number of local individuals and agencies to use the glass cullet," Mello said. He started the nonprofit with his wife, Melissa, earlier this year.

Local Boy Scout troop 201 is among the consumers of the cullet who have emerged since Mello said the nonprofit was on the verge of going under.

The scouts are bagging the cullet for traction bags, which are being sold at Ace Hardware and Big R. The scouts are receiving money to benefit the troop.

"Also, the city of Coeur d'Alene has expressed an interest in using the cullet," he said.

In November, Mello said the nonprofit was sitting on approximately 60 18-gallon bins filled with cullet.

"Right now, we don't have any crushed glass in the warehouse, so I am feeling great," Mello said Thursday. "I hope that we can continue to get the product out into the community and I would like to see someone use it in commercial applications for countertops and sidewalks."

This year, the nonprofit operated on donations, which covered leasing a facility, insurance, utilities, and maintenance on the crushing and sifting machines.

There are no paid employees, as everyone that does work is a volunteer, Mello said. The eight volunteers converge on the recycling facility every other Saturday to process the glass.

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.

He said there is a waiting list to drop off glass for recycling.

Those who would like to reserve a slot for glass drop-off must contact the nonprofit by Jan. 15, he said. The minimum donation is $120 to participate in recycling and become a "member."

Mello said there were 200 members who signed up this year to have their glass recycled. The members included individuals and businesses.

Mello's email:

The nonprofit's mailing address: Coeur d'Alene Glass Recycling Co., 600 W. Clayton Ave. No. 3, Coeur d'Alene, ID, 83815.

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