Trashed Glass Turned to Treasures

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EUGENE, Ore. — A local business is helping turn potential trash into beautiful treasures.

Managers at Aurora Glass, a branch of the local St. Vincent de Paul, say they’ve been around for more than a decade, helping the community divert about a ton of glass from our landfills every month.

“Basically we recycle window glass. Contractors or whatever bring it here and we crush it up and re-melt it and make different products out of it,” said Chris Jenkins, Aurora Glass Manager.

Napkin rings, sun catchers, coasters and plates just to name a few things and each one specially made for its future owner.

“Everything is made one at a time. It’s all hand done. There’s no machinery involved really other than the one used to melt the glass. Everything is hand poured and done one at a time,” Jenkins said.

Aurora Glass employees also make recycled glass tiles.

“Using a ladle to scoop the glass out and it’s poured into a mold and stays out on the table while it sets up,” said Chris Mettler, Aurora Glass Production Manager.

While the work can sometimes get repetitive, the products remain unique.

“It’s all made right here in Eugene. You’re helping the community out. You’re helping recycling and all of our profits go back into St. Vincent de Paul’s programs,” Jenkins said.

The shop’s name stems from the Roman name for the Goddess of Dawn, and employees say every time they open that furnace door, it’s like the sun breaking over the horizon, a new day and new beginning for the discarded glass.

Staff members say the site also serves as a space for rehabilitation. There people from various backgrounds are also given a second chance at life. They’re provided the opportunity to work and help transition themselves back into the labor force.

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