Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Post-Nemo Hike | Glassphalt

We took Andy out for a much needed walk on Sunday afternoon. Most of the paths and trails were still covered in snow, which the pup had no problem navigating. As we were walking a particular stretch of asphalt covered trail I noticed little pieces of multicolored glass glistening in the sunlight. My immediate reaction was concern for Andy's paws. The glass was everywhere! When I stooped down to the ground I saw that some of the glass was embedded in the asphalt while other pieces were scattered loose all over the ground. I collected some of the glass and inspected it up close. The pieces were smooth; no sharp edges. That's when it occurred to me that the glass might be a part of the asphalt - recycled bottles of some sort.

Sure enough, after doing a little research once we got home, I discovered the wonder that is "glassphalt" - it's exactly what it sounds like, asphalt with (recycled) glass in the mix. In order for glass to be recycled it needs to be sorted according to color and type. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that glass likes to break into a million little pieces and get all mixed up - thus rendering it unrecyclable. Enter glassphalt - glass of any color and type can go into the mix. This means that glass that would otherwise sit unrecycled in a landfill can be repurposed and live anew as the asphalt, or glassphalt rather, that we walk and drive on. Nifty. But what was up with all the loose glass we encountered at the park? Seems to me they need to crush the glass into smaller pieces to make it hold to the mix better. Sure was pretty though!

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