Glass is Recycled into Gravel and Sand in Pilot Program at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground

Hi everyone!

If you’ve watched “The Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom” on Disney+, you may be aware of a pilot program at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground where glass is being pulverized to turn into gravel and a sand mix. The results are used for gravel roads and the horseback riding trails! Eventually the gravel and sand will have more uses as up to 2,000 pounds of glass can be pulverized per hour. During my interview with Dr. Geoff Pye, he brought it up as an environmental initiative.

The Disney Parks Blog also has a story with more information on this program by Dr. Mark Penning. Read the story below and check out the Disney Parks TikTok for a video.

The last time you dropped a glass bottle or jar into a recycle bin, did you imagine it could be used for roads, golf courses or walking trails for animals?   

Picturing what’s possible is what we do every day at Disney, and the real magic begins when we put that possibility into practice. With the help of a machine that pulverizes glass into gravel and sand-like pieces, we’re not just imagining the possibilities for a world in balance, we’re working to make it a reality!    

As part of a pilot program, we’re collecting glass placed in recycle bins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. This glass is then transferred into a bin connected to a glass pulverizer. With the flip of a switch, glass travels up a conveyor belt where it is then crushed by multiple small hammers before being sorted through a large mesh screen for bigger, gravel-sized pieces or a smaller mesh screen for finer, sand-like material. Within 30 seconds, a sauce jar or beverage bottle can turn into a beautiful, soft-sand mix!     

This pulverizer can process up to 2,000 pounds of glass per hour. So, a full ton can go through this machine every hour and be converted into sand and gravel instead of being routed to a landfill.   

This work is just one example of the ways The Walt Disney Company is aiming to lead the way in protecting the planet with our environmental goals by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water, achieve zero waste to landfills, further reduce single-use plastics and emissions, and expand renewable energy efforts.     

Here at Fort Wilderness, we use this material to fill in holes on gravel roads and our horseback riding trails. The pulverizer processes the glass in a way that removes any sharp edges, which makes it safe for animals to walk on. And, it actually creates less dust on the trails, which makes a better experience for everyone!    

In the near future, this material could have many other uses across Walt Disney World, including roadbeds, golf course bunkers, filtration systems, sandbags and drainage improvements, to name a few. It may even be used in recreation areas and in non-structural concrete like sidewalks and tennis courts.    

And one day, this glass mixture might even be used for coastal restoration work. It’s a lot of fun to see a simple item recycled into something so usable!

We’re always dreaming of the possibilities of tomorrow at Disney, and we apply that same approach when we think about the environment. While this is an early step, it’s exciting to picture what’s possible when we take action to change our planet’s story.    

And we invite you to join us in building a brighter, more sustainable future. Whether you’re turning glass into sand or simply sorting your glass containers into a recycle bin, every simple action can help create a world in balance and make a happier, healthier planet possible for all. To learn more, visit DisneyPlanetPossible.com

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