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Marquette County glass pulverizer has recycled 1K tons of glass bottles, keeping them out of landfills

For the past two and a half years, Marquette County has been collecting and recycling glass bottles. About 1,000 tons of glass has been pulverized instead of ending up in a landfill, thanks, in part, to a grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Prior to getting the glass pulverizer, the county did not recycle glass.

Aggregate produced by Marquette glass pulverizer.

   Aggregate product from glass pulverizer in Marquette. Courtesy Marquette Solid Waste Management Authority. 


The county’s pulverizer is the only location in the Upper Peninsula that processes glass into sand and aggregate. Two locations in Marquette accept delivered source-separated glass from any U.P. county. Thirteen of 22 municipalities have designated glass drop-off locations where residents deliver source-separated glass. Local media, social media, and the Recycle906 effort -- whose slogan is “Less landfill, more U.P. to enjoy” -- helped to promote glass bottle recycling.

Once processed, the glass bottles become sand material that has been used to sand roads in the winter. This fall, the sand will be used in road mix to construct a road in Dickinson County. Aggregate processed by the pulverizer has been used in landscaping projects in the U.P.

Brad Austin, the recently departed director of operations at Marquette County's Solid Waste Management Authority, said glass recycling “provides residents with an option for glass versus landfill disposal. The distance to all commodity markets is a challenge in the U.P. The local ‘reuse’ idea with glass has been embraced. Our experience with the pulverizer has been excellent. The machine has consistently produced a high-quality material.” 

For communities interested in glass bottle recycling, Austin notes that quality is key. “We need a clean feedstock to create a quality sand and aggregate product.”

For information on glass bottle recycling, contact Josh Wales, materials management supervisor, at

Check out EGLE’s recycling infrastructure grants for more information.