ACE Glass and Plastics Recycling has partnered with EPIC Glass Recycling to build a glass recycling facility in North Little Rock, Ark.
The plant is expected to cost $20 million, and the partnership intends to help make glass recycling more economically feasible across the state.
The first phase of the project will allow the facility to make cullet from collected glass and will be operational in spring 2024, Courtney Little, ACE Glass president, told Resource Recycling. Using equipment from Infinite Glass in Minnesota, the company will process container glass, architectural glass and laminated glass in two buildings. Laminated glass is from items like car windshields.
“We’ll be among a selected group of people who can do that,” Little said, referring to the laminated glass.
It’s his hope that a local option for glass that reduces transportation costs will “incentivize more people to recycle that material.”
The plant would be able to take between 80,000 and 100,000 tons of architectural glass each year.
“Our ultimate goal would be that the container glass would end up going into a ultra lightweight foam glass aggregate,” Little added, which is the second phase of the project.
Foamed glass aggregate is a grout gravel or rock substitute made from 100% recycled glass that weighs much less than rock and can be used in roads and construction. Little said the aggregate will be primarily used in Arkansas.
“We’re trying to fill a gap and not overtake somebody else.” –Courtney Little, president, ACE Glass and Plastics Recycling
Once phase two starts, the plant will be able to take about 15,000 tons of bottle glass and turn it into just over 100,000 cubic yards of aggregate, Little said, but “we think we can ultimately get about 30,000 tons in the state and hopefully reach into Mississippi and western Tennessee and Northern Louisiana because there are not a lot of recycling opportunities there.”
However, Little said he does not plan to reach into any areas with existing collection and processing, “because we’re trying to fill a gap and not overtake somebody else.”
Eventually, he hopes to also do plastic recycling on site, so “there are a lot of moving parts to get everything into the space.”
“It’s been a lot of fun – a lot of work – but we’re getting close to getting things operational and it’s going to be really exciting to see what this does for the area,” Little said.