• By Inge Bremer

A community glass crusher?

10 million glass bottles are trucked just from Northland to Auckland every year!

We were so astonished by these numbers that we trialled a little glass bottle crusher from a Christchurch manufacturer. It is roughly the size of a large 240 litre garbage bin. The bottles go in head first and get hammered very quickly into a fine sand, which is soft to touch but not fine enough to cause a respiratory hazard (we checked with medical professionals before using it).

We used the crushed bottles for Kumara growing. The old Maori custom says: "use fine river sand”. That’s not available locally, but glass bottle sand is! Look at the picture! This sand is also fine for mixing with dense clay soil, so that veggie growing is much easier.(the trials are running).

The bottle crusher, made by a family enterprise in Christchurch, is not cheap (around $5,000), but given that you can crush approximately 50 bottles through it per minute (if you have enough of them), it could prove to be a great tool for a local community reducing emissions and providing a growing medium.

One empty bottle weighs an average of 500g. One truck can transport about 40,000 bottles to Auckland generating around 650 kg CO2e emissions (not to mention the addition of heavy vehicles too, and high wear and tear on, our meagre road links with Auckland).

The crusher needs new spare parts (sieve and hammers) every 50,000 bottles, which will cost approx. 0.03c per bottle.

Here is a thought. if we work together, we may be able to do something good for NZ!

Email us if you think this idea is worth deeper investigation.

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