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MSU Uses Recycled Glass To Build School of Business Countertops

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Montana State University is using recycled glass to build countertops in their new school of business.

"It was a dream that we thought out between the students and I," said E.J. Hook, MSU Environment Services Manager. "We were able to carry it from a dream stage into reality."

The countertops, the back splashes of the drinking stations and the cafeteria will all be made from recycled glass in the new Montana State University School of Business. For more than a year, MSU faculty and students have collected glass on campus.

"It engages people and we can all contribute directly to the project," said Hook. "It does the close loop kind of thing, which is a nice demonstration of smaller carbon footprint and it's all done locally."

2,000 pounds of amber brown and green glass, 1,500 pounds of clear glass and 600 pounds of blue glass have been collected for the project so far.
Hook said blue glass was by far the hardest kind of glass to find.

"Blue glass will be seeded over the top instead of being used throughout the entire countertop so we can use larger chunks there and then they will polish it out," said Hook.

"There's actually close to 50 common colors on glass. It's so hard to recycle because there are so many different tints in it when its being made back into bottles," said Dave Leverett, Four Corners Recycling.

After the glass is collected, it is then taken to Four Corners Recycling to be crushed.

"We go ahead and weigh it in and then we run it through a glass crusher," said Leverett."Then we'll scoop it in the super sack, which are sacks that will hold up to 3,000 pounds of glass."

The glass is then transported to GeoMatrix to be made into countertops.

"We wash it to remove anything like dust or dirt from the crushing operation. Then we formulate it in with fly ash and pigment and create a concrete that we then pour into predetermine molds," said Jon Cross GeoMatrix President.

From start to finish that process takes about a week.

"We put on sealers and hardeners," said Cross. "All those take time to cure out, so the total time start to finish on the countertop is about seven days."

Hook said the best part of the project is that it was a dream that turned into a reality.

"It was just  dream in 2012 and with the help of some students we made this project a reality," said Hook.

The countertops are expected to be installed sometime late summer. MSU's School of Business should be completed before the end of the year.
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