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How to buy a ton of glass?
January 23, 2012 11:21 AM   Subscribe

How can I buy a ton of glass?

I'm wanting to landscape using beach glass, homemade. My problem is sourcing a ton of glass--literally. How can I buy lots and lots of glass, very, very cheaply?

I thought of junkyards.

Also thought of recycling plants.

Also thought of Craigslist.

What I haven't thought of are details; like price, quantity, and hazards.

Details are the key. Please help?
posted by American Christmas Devil to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Glass blowers use glass nuggets (not sure how else to describe them) that come in the "50 lb bag of dogfood" size bags. I'm not sure of the condition/size/etc, but when peeking at one place, saw a pallet full of the bags. Eg something like this
posted by k5.user at 11:29 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you happen to live near Portland, Oregon you can try Bullseye Glass. They're a maker of glass for art uses. I used to work there. They remelt most of the scrap glass (usually this is the ends of sheets, you cut them so they can stack on end straight) but sometimes for various reasons it's not worth it and it gets tossed. They might be willing to part with some of the discarded glass. Or not? I'm not entirely sure. I'd think if you can find a glass manufacturer near you you might be able to work out a deal.

Also, as far as the glass at Bullseye goes, depending on the content of the glass, that's gonna determine how much one ton is, quantity wise. Some glass is heavier than others. A place like Bullseye you'll also have access to glass in many colors, opaque or transparent. A lot of mixes also.

As far as safety goes make sure you're wearing good gloves and safety glasses. Covering your arms and legs is also a good idea. Sometimes it might seem like the glass isn't all that sharp but it will cut the living shit out of you if you're not careful.
posted by rainperimeter at 11:37 AM on January 23, 2012


Recycle.net is an online exchange/forum for posting about recycled materials and it may give you an indication of the price ranges. For something like that, given the weight you're looking for, you'll probably want to deal with a nearby source. Seems to be sized somewhat like aggregate.
posted by pappy at 11:37 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


My mother used to do a lot of work with recycled glass, and her best source was glass window companies, which would routinely throw away absurd amounts of scrap glass, and were more than happy to either give it to her or sell it for very little money. A lot of times she had to put on gloves and drag it out of the dumpster herself, though.
posted by sawdustbear at 12:17 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Glass window companies! Yes. I was also thinking maybe bars, for the bottles.

I called every recycling number in the local phonebook and had no luck.
posted by American Christmas Devil at 12:28 PM on January 23, 2012


Scrap glass or the "nuggets" k5.user describes are called "cullet" - google for glass cullet and you may find more of what you're looking for.
posted by judith at 12:37 PM on January 23, 2012


I'd be really interested in knowing how you plan to turn whatever glass you find into "beach glass".
posted by mareli at 12:52 PM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Beach glass tends to be smooth, thanks to the pummeling and tumbling it gets in the ocean. Any scrap glass you buy is going to have very sharp edges like, well, broken glass.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:10 PM on January 23, 2012


Come to Austin and go pick it up, free or nearly so, from the city. Austin has single stream recycling and sells mixed color tumbled glass for $10 a ton. The city just rebuilt their website, so no links seems to work these days (nice planning, gang) but the link at the Wayback is here.

Maybe your city has a similar program?
posted by dirtdirt at 1:18 PM on January 23, 2012


he said he'd make it, assuming a rock tumbler or tumbler like device... or acid... either way can make "fake" sea glass.

as for glass locations... i think the ideas are all out there, if you want clear, look at auto-glass repair people, they get tons of it, also, bottling plants. Or just check a recycling center in your area... if you give us a location, we can do some meta-research... and i would say you are doing it for Art, rather than landscaping...

as for hazards, i'd suggest just clean it... bleach and water should do well. And, as for quantity, i'd go to home depot, look at how much lbs of stones cover a square foot, then you can do some math like that... x lbs of stones cover y square feet, math might not be perfect, but give you an idea.
posted by fozzie33 at 1:25 PM on January 23, 2012


$10 a ton! Holy Cow. Anyone know of a similar program near Louisville, KY? I called around locally and could hit Cincinnati, Nashville, tomorrow.
posted by American Christmas Devil at 1:35 PM on January 23, 2012


I got it! All the free glass I want, via dumpster diving, with a one week call-ahead for safety awareness.

Any suggestions as to what safety equipment I should wear when handling all this broken glass?
posted by American Christmas Devil at 1:46 PM on January 23, 2012


Kevlar gloves, at a minimum. Safety goggles, available at any hardware store (maybe even the kind people wear for racquetball?) As for the rest of your body.... I don't know.
posted by kestrel251 at 1:55 PM on January 23, 2012


Maybe a heavy leather apron, as for welding? Leather sleeves?
posted by American Christmas Devil at 2:12 PM on January 23, 2012


If you aren't going to be walking on the glass I wouldn't worry about anything much more than safety glasses, face shield and heavy gloves that cover your wrists in addition to regular working clothes like jeans, leather boots and a heavy long sleave shirt. Maybe a denim or leather jacket.

Breaking any piece of glass larger than a dinner plate with a hammer until it is smaller than a dinner plate before you pick it up will pretty well minimize risk. A grain shovel makes a decent tool for scooping large amounts of broken glass and the less you actually touch the glass with your hands rather than tools the better. Me I'd break everything with a hammer and then shovel everything.

Unless you have a dump box give thought to how you are going to haul the glass. Even a milk crate of glass is a fairly heavy load.
posted by Mitheral at 3:08 PM on January 23, 2012


In addition to safety glasses, you DEFINITELY want a respirator mask. Silicosis is pretty serious stuff. You want the kind with the purple cartridges.
posted by judith at 3:17 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seen here, "The Beach Glass Machine."
posted by Marky at 3:42 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


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