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City of Livingston, MT – Glass Pulverizer

An interview with Sandy Wulf, Assistant Public Works Director in October 2009

Start-up

What did the City of Livingston do with glass prior to this?
It was with all other refuse and went to a landfill, which is charged out based on weight. Public Works was looking for a way to reduce our weights and removing glass was a logical choice.

Where did the idea of purchasing a glass pulverizer come from?
If I remember correctly the idea was brought forth from my boss Clint Tinsley and I, when the Montana Department of Natural Resources brought their pulverizer to town for a demonstration. After that we knew that we wanted one and started through the grant process with Dusti Johnson from the State of Montana. Nittany Grantworks outlined a very detailed grant request and we were chosen to receive $100,000!

How did you decide which pulverizer or crusher would best fit your needs?
We worked with the Andela Corporation and Dusti from the State of Montana and decided which ton-per-hour machine would be the best fit for a city with our population. We wanted one that would produce two sizes: ¾"-minus and also sand.

Where did you obtain the funding for the pulverizer?
The Montana Department of Natural Resources Renewable Resource Grant and Loan Program

How much did it cost?
The pulverizer was approximately $75,000 and the other $25,000 was used to help pay for the building (our transfer station) which it would reside in. It also helped pay for the engineering design so that we would know it would fit.

Did the City put in some money as well?
The City paid for the initial PER and contributed manpower.

Operations

Costs

  • City charges $29/ton for glass. Free for area individuals. The City sells the glass for $15/ton (regular sand is going for about $7/ton)
  • City charges $59/ton for transfer station waste

Labor

How much glass do you currently take in?
A rough estimate would be 8-10 tons per month

What volume does it crush down to?
90 bottles would make about 1 square foot of sand.

  • Pulverizer operates approx 2 hrs/day in summer and 6hrs/day in winter. There are less demands on employee time in the winter - so some glass is set aside as a winter project.
  • Transfer station employee runs pulverizer as a fill-in activity – City didn't have to hire additional personnel.
  • The paper gets pulled off in the process - product is clean enough for trails and most uses.

Uses for pulverized product

  • Having preliminary conversation with Filterpave and Roscoe Steel to supply them with glass for Billings (they are the ones who did the museum’s parking lot and brought the glass for it from Wisconsin) - glass needs to be cleaner, so it will have to be washed and bagged.
  • Much of the cullet will be used for trails.
  • MSU order for 10 tons of cullet to be used in crosscrete experiments.
  • Not enough of a regular supply of cullet yet to be able to market aggressively.
  • Geyser Glass gets some glass from Livingston's supply - not crushed but we save the full bottles for them.

Future Plans

How much glass could a 1-ton/hr pulverizer accommodate?
If I understand the question correctly I would say that we could handle approximately 7 tons a day.

What additional outlets for the cullet are you pursuing or could you pursue with additional product?
Landscaping businesses, paving, we’ll use it to bed our water & sewer projects, countertop companies use the product also

Do you see this as a self sustaining/sustainable operation?
In our situation it is because we already have the employee on hand to operate the machinery. The money we save by not tossing the glass in a landfill helps to sustain it also.

Lessons Learned

Is there anything you would do differently?
I would have probably tried to get a 3-ton/hour machine. I can see the demand for crushing glass for other communities increasing already.

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