The Morrow Royal Pavilion in Las Vegas is the world’s largest building made from recycled bottles. It is a 30,000 square foot manufacturing facility which saved an estimated 400,000 cubic yards of landfill space, enough to fill eight football fields to the tops of the goal posts. It kept thousands of pounds of glass from being trashed.
More than 500,000 beer bottles were crushed to make the GreenStone, a composite of recycled glass aggregate and fly ash which looks similar to sandstone, to construct the building at 1188 Center Point Drive in Henderson, Nevada. It cost $1.4 million.
Las Vegas entrepreneur Scott McCombs created this extremely green structure which is inspired by Swarkestone Hall Pavilion in Derbyshire, England. Swarkestone appeared on the Rolling Stones’ Hot Rocks album back cover. Realm of Design is McCombs’ company which collects beer bottles from Las Vegas hotels and makes GreenStone products. There is a Facebook campaign to bring the Rolling Stones to Nevada to visit the Hot Rocks replica (which has 882 windows) with no response to date from Mick and the gang. View some great pictures of the plant on the Facebook site.
The bottles are crushed into granules, mixed with fly ash, poured into molds and dried and hardened there to form GreenStone. The crushing process is low energy, leaving little to no carbon footprint. Fly ash is the byproduct of coal-fired power plants. Millions of pounds of it are produced every year and dumped into landfills. The cement in Realm of Design’s GreenStone is non-Portland base, 100 percent fly ash, making GreenStone a 98 percent recycled material. It takes 55 gallons of crude oil to produce one ton of cement as compared to zero gallons for Realm of Design’s eCement.
All states have been asked to form closed-loop recycling systems, meaning they should supply sources for recycling of plastics, aluminum and glass. Closed-loop recycling is using waste or byproduct from one product or process to make another. In Hartsville, South Carolina, Hilex Poly Co. operates the largest closed-loop recycling facility in the U.S. Nevada does not recycle its glass currently and sends it to California.
Realm of Design is diverting some of that glass in creating GreenStone for building walls and to make fireplace surrounds and mantles, balustrades and columns, wall paver materials, paving stones, and flooring which replicates wood flooring. They incorporate bronze and pewter which is all made from recycled metals. GreenStone was developed in late 2010 and costs about the same as the company’s aged-stone material, from $18 to $24 a square foot. All of their products are U.S. made. View the website for details.
Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions, a major factor in global warming and ozone deterioration. Air and water pollution from making products from raw materials is also reduced. Glass made from recycled glass reduces air pollution by 20 percent and water pollution by 50 percent. Using less energy through recycled materials cuts production costs. The cost of recycled products is way less than of those made with raw materials. Each week Republic Services delivers about 145 tons of beer, wine and liquor bottles from Strip hotels to the 4-acre Realm of Design recycling facility. McCombs conservatively estimates the Strip’s bottles represent about $26 million in alcohol sales on an average weekend.
There are LEED points for using GreenStone, especially due to the amount of recycled material contained in it. More points are available for Nevada customers because of the proximity to Realm of Design. See the chart at Realm of Design’s website for possible LEED points.