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Keep Oklahoma Beautiful named East Central University’s Glass Recycling Project a finalist for the Environmental Excellence Award. The project is run by the Master of Science in Water Resource Policy and Management program.

“Anyone who has heard me talk about glass recycling knows that it is a labor of love,” said Dr. Christine Pappas, director of the WRPM degree. “I am incredibly proud of my team for being nominated for an award with all the major environmental agencies in the State of Oklahoma.”

The program is nominated in the category of Government Programs along with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Grand River Dam Authority, Department of Environmental Quality, and the Oklahoma Conservation Commission.

The winner will be announced at the 32rd Annual Environmental Excellence Celebration on Nov. 18 in Oklahoma City. Pappas will attend the banquet on behalf of ECU.

The Glass Recycling Project collects glass bottles and jars that would otherwise be placed in the City of Ada landfill. In the last three years, approximately 30,000 bottles have been diverted into the project. The glass is crushed using a Glass Gator that was purchased by Ada Sunrise Rotary Club and a grant the City of Ada helped to secure. The resulting glass sand can be used to make concrete pavers and items used in other construction purposes.

The Glass Recycling Project has participated in The Big Pitch Ada two times, winning the Water Technology & Innovation Award in 2018. It was also supported in 2021 and 2022 by Summer Research Grants from the Oka Institute.

Many students in the WRPM master degree program have participated in collecting and crushing bottles and fabricating concrete pavers. Proceeds from the sales of the pavers are donated to the Community Impact Scholarship for WRPM students at the ECU Foundation, Inc.

The Glass Recycling Project is possible due to support from the City of Ada with the grant, surplus glassware donated by the Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research, and Holcim’s donation of over 2,000 pounds of cement to make concrete pavers.

R&J Roll Offs of Fittstown donated dumpsters and hauling services to assist in moving the glass bottles. A concrete mixer donated by Brent Rustin helped speed up the production of concrete pavers.

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