One for the road: Guam's roadways will soon be paved with glass sand

November 22, 2020

 

Glass sand was used as a sub-base to support the paving of the GCA Trades Academy’s parking lot . Photo courtesy of GCA Trades Academy.

 

About 5,000 tons of glass that otherwise  fill up Guam's landfill will eventually scatter around roadways-- but not in their current form.
 

Save your wine and beer bottles for the road. Literally.

 

By December, Guam will have its own glass pulverizing machine that will transform empty bottles into fine sand, according to Zero Waste Guam Working Group.

 

This is part of the ZWGG's Greening Roadways Infrastructure Initiative, which was recently piloted at the GCA Trades Academy.

 

“We were a willing partner. They needed a pilot project and we were in the process of building, and, more important, wanted to play a part,” said Bert Johnson, president of the GCA Trade Academy.

 

Portions of the 20,000 tons of glass sand shipped by the Zero Waste Guam Working Group, have been used as a sub-base to support the paving of the GCA Trades Academy’s parking lot in Barrigada. “The pilot project shows one use of recycled glass,” Johnson said.

 

As part of the Sustainable Materials Management contract through Guam EPA, this demonstration project utilized processed materials from Andela Products, a New York-based company that specializes in pulverized glass for construction projects.


“By partnering with the Zero Waste Working Group and handling the crushed glass’s shipping cost, we demonstrate that the private industry has a role in developing the green Guam economy,” said Charlie Hermosa, president of American Presidents Lines, which provided transportation in partnership with the Solid Waste Association of North America Pacific Basin Chapter.

 

"Implementation of the Greening Roadway Infrastructure initiative will conserve landfill and hardfill space on Guam by reducing waste disposal," as stated in the GRI guidance document developed by Jacobs Engineering under the direction of Guam EPA in January 2020.


As of 2018, Guam’s Roadway Network includes 155 miles of routed roads and 860 miles of village streets, with the length of village streets continuing to grow.


"As part of the Zero Waste Plan, the greening of Guam’s roadway infrastructure is an initiative that encourages the use of recycled materials in roadway construction. The use of these recycled materials will not only reduce waste in landfills and those being shipped off-island but will also conserve Guam’s natural resources that are currently being used for construction," said First Gentleman Jeff Cook, chairman of the Guam Zero Waste Working Group.


According to Conchita SN Taitano, Executive Director of the Guam Zero Waste Working Group, the use of different types of waste materials generated from construction-related activities has been evaluated, tested, and utilized in roadways throughout the United States for many years. "Recycled materials have been used in road base and sub-base, and paving mixes," she added.


The Guam Zero Waste Working Group seeks to develop a fully circular economy of glass bottles, envisioned as a valuable commodity. Based on industry rate, glass sand sells for $40 to $50 per ton as recycled aggregate.

 

The Greening Roadway Infrastructure Initiative ties in with Guam's goal of building a recycling enterprise zone located at the Port Authority of Guam. The Recycling Enterprise Zone Act was signed into law nearly a decade ago and now looks to become a reality.

 

Dededo is next line for the pilot program, according to ZWGG.

 

"Implementation of the Greening Roadway Infrastructure Initiative is intended to conserve landfill and hardfill space on Guam by reducing waste disposal," states the plans prepared and released by the Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.in January.

 

As of 2018, Guam’s Roadway Network includes 155 miles of routed roads and 860 miles of village streets, with the length of village streets continuing to grow.

 

"As part of the Zero Waste Plan, the greening of Guam’s roadway infrastructure is an initiative that encourages the use of recycled materials in roadway construction. The use of these recycled materials will not only reduce waste in landfills and those being shipped off-island, but will also conserve Guam’s natural resources that are currently being used for construction," Jacob's document states.

 

According to Jacob,  the use of different types of waste materials generated from construction and industry has been tested and evaluated throughout the United States for decades.

 

"Recycled materials have been used with varying degrees in fill and backfill, base and subbase, and paving mixes," the document states.

 

The Zero Waste Guam Working Group seeks the development of a full circular economy of glass bottles, which are envisioned to become a valuable commodity.  Based on industry rate,  glass sand sells for $40 to $50 per ton as recycled aggregate.

 

“Guam will have a fully circular economy of glass by the first quarter of 2021, which means that all of a sudden, glass bottles that were going into the landfill are now a valuable commodity, and we no longer need to mine from the earth 5,000 tons of limestone," said Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio, chair of the Island Beautification Task Force. "Reducing greenhouse gases and climate change all while preparing to rebuild our economy based on green jobs.”

 

The Greening Roadway Infrastructure Initiative ties in with Guam's goal to become the hub for recycled products.

 

 

In June, Sen. Sabina Perez  introduced Bill 362-35, also known as the Guam Zero Waste Act, which  proposes a comprehensive collection of cost-saving, environmentally focused measures to promote recycling and zero waste initiatives on Guam. 

 

“With the drastic economic impacts of the continuing global pandemic, we must act now to improve the management of waste streams and reduce their financial impact on our community,” Perez said. “The Guam Zero Waste Act modernizes local statutes, improves recycling and cleanup processes that are costly and inefficient, and establishes of a series of significant zero waste measures to boost our economy and protect our environment,” she added.

 

Drafted in close collaboration with the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, the legislation updates statutes creating the Recycling Revolving Fund and recognizes that the global recycling industry has changed significantly in the 16 years since the RRF was established. With China banning the importation of most forms of recyclable materials in 2017, today traditional recycling models are no longer financially sustainable.

 

“China’s dramatic shift undermining the global recycling industry, along with the pandemic-induced economic downturn, are back-to-back body punches to our solid waste system,” Perez said. “The Guam Solid Waste Authority is tracking to lose $2 million this year. We must proactively develop solutions, including zero waste initiatives, to protect our environment and reduce costs,” she added.

 

 

 

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