Green Building: Vegas Bottles Recycled Into Construction Materials

Sal holds a Political Science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.
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Some of what shines in Vegas may have been up-cycled.(Photo: STR New/Reuters)

Gambling aside, alcohol is Sin City's most popular gateway to sin.

But for environmentalists, the concern isn’t the copious quantity of beer and liquor consumed in the Vegas hotels on a daily basis—it's what happens to the glass bottles after the juice is drained away.

Now, thanks to the innovative construction minds at Realm of Design, some of Vegas's glass is being reconfigured into decorative rocks.

Called Green Stone, the reconfigured containers can be used to sparkle up the facades of newly constructed buildings.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the process is quite simple:

To make Green Stone, Realm of Design pulverizes the bottles into sand and mixes the crushed glass with cement. As with the glass in Green Stone, the cement is reused: While conventional cement is manufactured from ground rock that's heated to nearly 3,000 degrees, Green Stone's cement comes from ash generated by coal-fired power plants—ash that's also destined for landfills. The result? A building product that's virtually 100 percent reused materials.

Realm of Design’s first Green Stone customer?

Themselves.

Currently, 200,000 pounds of the recycled material are being used in the company’s new headquarters, which will open in August.

According to Earth 911, the Luxor and Mandalay Bay hotels will provide glass bottles from their bars and restaurants for the project. Evergreen Recycling will gather and transport the glass.

Green Stone’s most attractive attribute is its ability to close southern Nevada’s recycling loop, said Rob Dorinson, president of Evergreen Recycling, to the Review-Journal.

"If we can recycle materials on a greater scale in Las Vegas and provide that as a feedstock to industries that use recycled material for products, we would be that much more attractive to companies looking to bring a plant here," Dorinson said. "Their first question is, 'We need so many tons of plastic or glass. Can you provide that?' If we improve our recycling rate, we can offer that to them. Then they come here and create jobs and tax revenue."

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