Tulane students’ glass recycling project to fight coastal erosion

Janae Sterling

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Courtesy of Max Steitz

From left to right, Max Landy, Max Steitz and Franziska Trautmann are the team members of the Plant the Peace organization. These students lead a glass recycling initiative in New Orleans that turns glass bottles into sand to battle coastal erosion.

Janae Sterling, Pack News

Plant the Peace is a non-profit organization that is recyclng glass bottles and turning them into sand to help combat coastal erosion. This organization was started and founded by Tulane students Max Landy, Franziska Trautmaan and Max Steitz. 

“We want to use that sand that we make from recycling glass across the city to fight coastal erosion and other disaster relief projects,” Steitz said.  

The Glass Recycling Project currently has multiple recycling bins in the Uptown New Orleans area. The project is hoping to expand to have over 20 bins at many local bars and restaurants. Saba, Bacchanal and Commanders Palace are a few of the establishments that will be included. 

Max Steitz said that “It has been really cool to know they also see this as a problem, that every single beer bottle they open and serve will end up in a landfill and just sit there forever.” 

Dr. Aimée K. Thomas, director of the environmental program at Loyola University, agrees, and she said she has seen the proof. 

“There are a lot of models that show in 100 years we will be totally underwater unless we do something to prevent that from happening,” Dr. Thomas said. 

Dr. Thomas said that glass has a very clean recycling process. She said she hopes that many other businesses and corporations reach out to help.

“Hopefully this new startup will be something everyone jumps on board will because I know a lot of people who are interested in glass recycling,” said Dr. Thomas.

Steitz said that he and his colleagues started Plant the Peace because they saw a problem and knew they needed to be apart of the solution. He also said that he and his team realized that it was up to them, because “it’s our city, it’s our state and ultimately it’s our planet and we are the ones who will deal with the ramifications of climate change.”

So why is New Orleans new to glass recycling if this reusing it as sand can fight coastal erosion? Max Steitz has an answer. 

Steits said “I think it is representative of a struggle that a lot of US cities are facing right now, which is, how do we properly recycle? How do we properly use something more than once?” Steitz said.