Solutions Summit

Michael D. Pulliam


Recology is a private employee-owned company whose mission is shifting ‘waste management’ to ‘resource recovery’ through sustainable collection and recycling programs. The following is reprinted from their website,

“The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco is a unique art and education program that provides Bay Area artists with access to discarded materials, a stipend, and a large studio space at the Recology San Francisco Transfer Station. By supporting artists who work with recycled materials, Recology hopes to encourage people to conserve natural resources and promote new ways of thinking about art and the environment.

“Since 1990, over 145 professional artists and 40 university student artists have completed residencies, making art from discarded materials. The studio is located at the San Francisco Transfer and Recycling Center (Recology San Francisco), a 46-acre facility that includes the Transfer Station (where trash goes before being sent to landfill), the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, the Organics Wing, the Public Disposal and Recycling Area (“the dump”), and other recycling areas. The facility, which is located west of Highway 101 near the former site of Candlestick Park, is also home to a three-acre sculpture garden containing work by former artists-in-residence.

“During their four-month residencies, artists have scavenging privileges and 24-hour access to the company’s well-equipped art studio. Artists speak to elementary school classes and adult tour groups about the experience of working with recycled materials. At the conclusion of their residency, Recology hosts a three-day, public exhibition and reception of their completed artwork. Artists contribute pieces to the program’s permanent collection, and these artworks continue to be shown in off-site exhibitions that promote recycling and reuse.

Program Mission:

  • To encourage the reuse of materials
  • To support Bay Area artists by providing access to the wealth of materials available at the public dump
  • To prompt children and adults to think about their own consumption practices
  • To teach the public how to recycle and compost in San Francisco through classroom lessons that explain the City’s three-bin (recycling, composting, trash) system.

For more information, including contact details, visit Source:


Two college seniors in New Orleans, Louisiana, began a nonprofit company for glass recycling because their area discontinued glass collection. The Glass Half Full organization recovers glass products and processes them for use in disaster relief, eco-construction, and making new glass items.

Many cities and municipalities around the US shy away from curbside glass collection in their recycling programs. The glass items people put in their recycling bins often end up contaminated, or they break and contaminate other waste streams like metal and paper recycling. If handled properly, glass products are 100% reusable, but sadly only about a quarter of glass in the US is recycled.

“A single piece of glass in your recycling bin in [New Orleans] will cause the entire load to be sent to the landfill, where it will never decompose,” Glass Half Full writes. “New Orleans wastes millions of tax dollars… importing millions of pounds of sand. We are preventing these unnecessary, wasteful, and expensive practices by providing a sustainable alternative.”

Glass Half Full collects bottles from businesses and designated residential drop-off sites and transports them to an in-house processing facility. There the glassware has caps and corks removed, gets sorted, cleaned, tumbled, and pulverized, and has leftover materials (like label shreds) sifted out. The result is either large chunks (called ‘cullet’), or fine sand soft enough to run through your hands. This mixture is separated and apportioned: cullet can be turned into jewelry and art or melted to form new glass objects; sand can be used to fill emergency sandbags or sold to eco-construction projects. They boast, “The average recycling facility throws away about 60-90% of what they receive… our rate is less than 2%.”

Glass Half Full aims to help restore eroded stretches of Louisiana’s shoreline using recycled glass sands. As of 2022, there is a worldwide shortage of usable sand; much of the demand is currently met by dredging various waterways in a laborious and destructive sand-mining process. Recycled glass can serve some of this demand, providing sand for the eroded barrier islands and sandbars that are crucial in protecting coastlines. Glass Half Full reminds us, “Returning sediment to wetlands combats erosion and promotes the return of native foliage and wildlife, which will ultimately strengthen Louisiana’s economy and preserve our food supply.”

The Keep Louisiana Beautiful Conference recently gave Glass Half Full the Most Innovative Program award. Be sure to check your area’s waste management company for details on glass recycling, and help give glass the second chance it deserves.

Source: Good News Network, Glass Half Full website