Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beer-Bottle Pavement

Finally. A safe way for us all to be able to jump up and down on broken shards of glass. Whew. I was starting to worry. But in all seriousness, who would have thought that empty beer bottles could actually help the environment? Well, they do need to be recycled, of course. Get this: Presto Geosystems is utilizing a particular technological innovation, in regard to the construction of pavement. It's called the FilterPave Porous Pavement System. Now, what we're dealing with here is essentially a surface composed of recycled glass - a colorful one at that. If you're anything like me, though, you're probably wondering how your feet would enjoy walking across a pavement made out of pieces of glass, no? Well, the answer is...just fine. See, the pieces are sanded down into round pebbles of sorts, creating not only a safe as surface as any other traditional surface, but one that is extremely porous as well (the glass is bonded with a natural, flexible agent that is reportedly safe for marine and plant life). What this means is that there is a greater reduction in storm-water runoff, along with pollutants that would otherwise go unabsorbed from automobiles (engine oil, transmission fluid, etc.). The company boasts that this technology is ideal for parking lots, trails/walkways, sidewalks, pedestrian patios, and driveways - so nothing too incredibly fancy, but still. It also boasts its alleged low carbon footprint; it lacks the creation of hydrocarbons in the manufacture of its components (it uses 100% post-consumer recycled glass), the transportation of the materials used to produce it (all supplies are reported to be obtained locally), and in its placement. Any collected hydrocarbons that are absorbed can be introduced to certain biological processes, via the different layers in the pavement, and be mutated into harmless little by-products. Pretty cool, huh?

So where does beer factor into all of this? Aside from those recent trends in canned microbrew, the majority of craft beer is packaged in what? Yeah. Glass. So, feel confident that you're facilitating future technological innovation, and helping your ol' Mother Earth, as you toss that empty bottle into your nearest recycling bin. The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois is already exploring this architectural sphere; at about $9-10 per square foot (roughly the same price as colored concrete or brick pavers), who could blame them?

Peace and Love!