Walking on Broken Glass

SCA Tissue adds recycled glass walkways to filter runoff

Image of installation of recycled glass walk-ways

SCA Tissue of Menasha, Wisconsin, has replaced five asphalt walkways with recycled glass product as part of its ongoing commitment to managing storm water runoff using environmentally friendly methods.

Presto Products Geosystems of Appleton, Wis. Installed the recycled glass pavement product for the five walk-through paths that connect the parking areas at SCA Tissue’s Service Excellence Center on McMahon Drive in the Town of Menasha.

Unlike asphalt, the recycled glass pathways are permeable, allowing rainwater to filter through and recharge the water table.

Michael Dillon, SCA tissue manager, environmental and risk management, said that when he first heard about recycled glass as an alternative to asphalt, he knew it presented an opportunity for SCA Tissue to evaluate this material and determine its value as an environmentally responsible business practice.

Already implementing alternative ways to manage storm water runoff, Dillon was excited to learn this method had additional environmental benefits.

"Glass Recyclers generally prefer glass of one color for individual applications," said Dillon. "With limited recycling opportunities, mixed glass tends to end up in the landfill. The recycled glass pavement product we installed gives a new added value to mixed glass."

The product has a sparkling mosaic appearance. It is made of 80% mixed recycled glass that has been tumbled multiple times to remove the sharp edges. The remaining 20% of the product is an epoxy that bonds the glass. The product sits on a crushed gravel bed that provides an area for collection and infiltration of rainwater.

Simply replacing the old deteriorated walkways with asphalt would have been easier and somewhat cheaper at current costs. However, factoring in the potential environmental benefits to storm water management, quality improvements and re-infiltration to the ground water table, installing the recycled glass walkways could be more cost-effective long term.

"We are using five pedestrian walkways and our motorcycle parking areas as test plots to see if it would be feasible to apply this product on a broader scale, possibly targeting specific areas in our parking lot or using it on our entire parking lot," said Dillon.

"For us this is the right thing to do – learn from the project. We hope that the benefits from this evaluation will encourage others to consider such options as an alternative to conventional impervious surface applications."