Missoula's one-weekend-only return to glass recycling was a smashing success, with 15 tons collected from the community and another 20 tons collected from the University of Montana and Missoula Valley Recycling.
Organizer Chris Anderson, a MontPIRG intern at UM, said the full 35 tons were crushed and mixed with recycled asphalt and gravel on Wednesday, and will be used as road base and parking lot base.
A Missoula business, which is participating in the project on the condition of anonymity, used between 2 percent and 5 percent glass in its recycled road base mixture, Anderson said.
The project was organized and carried out in a month's time, and was "most definitely a success," according to Anderson. "The goal was to determine the boundaries and feasibility of future projects, and we very definitely achieved that goal. We worked through a lot of problems."
"In the future, I don't think it would be a problem to collect four, five, six times this amount," he said.
Missoula has been without drop-off recycling for two years, because of the low price paid for used glass. It costs about $15 more per ton to ship glass to Denver - the nearest glass mill - than is paid. That does not include the cost of collection and handling.
Last weekend's community collection relied on an all-volunteer workforce for collecting, sorting and cleaning duties.