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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Glass Recycling Plant Opens in Virginia

Precision Recycling Industries LLC has opened Precision Recycling Industries of Virginia (PRIVA), a glass recycling plant in Chester, Va.

Initially, the plant will have the capacity to recycle 50,000 tons of glass each year. The recycled glass will be converted into inert, environmentally safe products for use in industries such as abrasives, architectural products, and filtration systems.

The plant will recycle bottles and other glass products generated by curbside recycling systems, recycling drop-off centers, and manned recycling centers throughout Virginia and the surrounding region.

The plant will be a dedicated supplier to Precision Recycling Industries LLC and to Novetas Solutions, the manufacturer of New Age Blast Media. Precision Recycling Industries sells recycled products to industries such as architectural products, filtration systems, and more.

"We will divert 50,000 tons of glass per year from local landfills, turning that glass into a number of useful products," Bill Richardson, founder and president of Precision Recycling Industries, said. "A lot of glass has been going into those landfills, because the recycling systems have lacked a viable, local market for the glass that they collect. We have now provided that market.

Richardson noted that more than 8 million people live within a 100-mile radius of the new plant. "Those communities are generating tons and tons of recyclable glass, and we want to recycle it," he added.

Phase I of the highly automated glass recycling plant has the capacity to recycle 50,000 tons of glass (of all colors) per year. The plant ships its recycled glass products in bulk shipments, in 3,000-pound Super Sacks, or in 50-pound bags. The material can be packed in a customer's own containers. Its products meet the Federal Trade Commission's definition of post-consumer recycled material. In addition, the products meet all requirements of the California Gold Sustainable Carpet Standard, the most stringent such standard in the United States.

Richardson pointed out that recycled glass has a number of environmental advantages. Phase I of the plant has created seven new jobs. All of the jobs have currently been filled.

Richardson said that Precision Recycling Industries is already looking to Phase II, which would mean an expansion of the plant. "We have the capability to more than double the size of our operation, very quickly. We could add a color sort line, which would enable us to more fine-tune our output, and increase our annual recycling capacity to 180,000 tons of glass. We would then be able to produce furnace-ready glass cullet. This cullet could be used by manufacturers in the region that produce new glass containers for companies such as Anheuser-Busch, Miller-Coors, and others. Our expansion will of course be dependant on the market for recycled glass and the state of the economy, but we're very optimistic about the future," he said.

This information can be found at:

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Quest For Sandblasting Equipment

I had been looking at sandblast cabinets and compressors online for months but when I would call businesses to ask questions before ordering, they all tried to sell me $2000-4000 setups. I only needed an entry level unit to clean off the plaster and slightly etch the recycled glass castings. No matter how much hand and machine sanding I did, it was proving too time consuming to dig out the tiny embedded plaster bits and properly polish the edges of the castings. Also, since the castings are curved on all the outer edges, I could not use my wet belt sander with more than moderate efficiency. Thus, my quest to find sandblasting equipment in the DC area began.

While researching online again, I stumbled across a chain of stores called the Tractor Supply Company and one was located in Leesburg, Virginia. I called and a friendly store clerk said they had the table top blast cabinets, a variety of compressors and the blast media. So, early last Saturday morning, I was on my 64 mile round trip quest. Traffic was light and when I got about 4 to 5 miles from the store, I saw this huge black bird (a vulture?) with white tipped wings spiraling downward to land on the highway. As I realized it was aiming to land on the side of the highway, I quickly slowed down. The prehistoric looking black bird flew over the front of my car hood, missing it by inches. The wingspan of the bird was wider than my car and I regretted not having my camera or thinking to use my cell phone video.

A few minutes later, I arrived at this busy store that had everything from farm equipment to other interesting materials I could see inspiring future art projects. The store clerk was outstanding and answered all my many questions. I purchased a red Blackbull table top blasting cabinet, a 20 gallon Campbell Hausfeld compressor and affordable black blasting media. The blasting cabinet was at least $40 cheaper than identical ones online (and not even counting shipping). Everything at this store seemed to be very affordably priced. My purchases were loaded into my car and I left.

The other day, my neighbor and his wife assisted me in setting up the compressor and cabinet and it all worked amazingly well. I was worried about the air compressor being loud, but it was not and it did not run continuously as I thought it would. The blast gun quickly took off the plaster bits and lightly etched the glass. I do need to get a small shop vac to plug into the cabinet to help keep the dust down while blasting.

In the next post, I will show photos of a casting with before and after sandblasting effects.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Surprises with Recycled Glass Casting

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I acquire my glass from various sources. Last year, I was given a huge broken glass table top from someone who had an original Noguchi glass table. This clear glass with the typical green tint along the edges looked like plate glass but when I cast it, I received a nice surprise. The glass turned white with just a hint of the pale green color below the surface. It looked like frosted ice which gave an interesting effect to the sculpture below. No frits, enamels or paints were added to achieve this color.