September 1, 2021

From Humble Beginnings to a Greener Future

Glass Half Full was started by Franziska Trautmann and Max Steitz with the intention of reimagining recycling by diverting waste from landfills, turning it into a resource for the community, combating environmental racism, and creating high-quality green jobs in our local economy. Since starting their company in January 2020, they have diverted over one million pounds of glass from landfills. What initially started in a small backyard has blossomed into a 40,000 square foot facility on Louisa Street. This all could not be done without the help of the New Orleans community, though. When they shared about their initial startup, they expressed much gratitude for the community and how crowdfunding campaigns helped drastically. 

Understanding the Process

With free drop-off glass recycling for all Louisiana residents three days a week, as well as a paid door-to-door pickup service for Orleans residents and businesses, Glass Half Full is able to divert 100,000 pounds of glass each month. 

With all of this glass, they then take it and convert it into a resource that actually benefits the community that recycles it. Trautmann explains the process, “Once the glass reaches our warehouse, it is crushed into fine sand or glass gravel which can be utilized to solve a host of other challenges, from disaster relief sandbags, to research for coastal restoration and bioremediation, to green construction, and even Mardi Gras beads.” 

Environmental racism is another issue that Glass Half Full tackles. This is done by decreasing landfill waste and educating the community. The best way to tackle any problem is by first understanding it. Through strategic partnerships with community organizations, they are able to properly and effectively do this. This leads to a win for the Earth and for future generations. 

Cheers To the Future

The future is definitely looking a lot greener, and the plans and dreams of both Trautmann and Steitz only look to improve on that. With plans to expand drop-off sites as well as open up locations all across the state of Louisiana and the country, ambition is definitely not lacking. The yearning to grow and expand to cities is the mentality that this planet needs to ease the stress that landfills can cause. Giving cities that do not recycle their glass an opportunity to do so significantly reduces the stress on the land. What started in their backyard has already blossomed into something so beautiful. One can only imagine how much greater Glass Half Full can become in the future. 

By Anthony Bui

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