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A startup in New Orleans is turning discarded glass bottles into sand.

“It started like most good ideas: over a bottle of wine,” says Franziska Trautmann, co-founder of Glass Half Full.

She says when she and her friend Max Steitz met for a drink, they considered the fate of their wine bottle.

With no local glass recycling, their only option was to throw it in the trash, and that upset them.

“And so after some research, we found these machines that just crushed the glass into sand,” she says. “And that’s when everything sort of clicked because we live in New Orleans and we know how important sand is here for disaster relief and coastal restoration.”

Each month, their company recycles about 150,000 pounds of glass bottles into sand.

Some is put in sandbags that can be used to prevent flooding during storms, and some is used for coastal restoration projects.

For example, 20,000 pounds of the company’s sand were used to help restore a marsh on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain that had been damaged during Hurricane Ida.

Trautmann says the coarse sand needed for projects like that is in short supply. So she hopes Glass Half Full can help meet the growing demand as Louisiana works to adapt to climate change.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media