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Published March 04, 2012, 10:22 AM

NDSU students see opportunity in broken shards of glass

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Soon-to-be college graduates face a tough job market, but three NDSU students plan to open their own business, centered around materials that end up in trash cans.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Soon-to-be college graduates face a tough job market, but three NDSU students plan to open their own business, centered around materials that end up in trash cans.

You probably see broken shards of glass, but manufacturing engineering senior Brandon Miller sees opportunity.

BRANDON MILLER - NDSU Senior: "Beer bottles, wine bottles... the color is very unique too."

It all started a year ago as a class project. Brandon and two classmates decided to make glass tiles from 100% recycled glass.

DR. DAVID WELLS - NDSU Engineering Department: "50 or 60 failed experiments before they got it right."

Brandon: "Basically right now we're intercepting the glass before it gets to the landfills. From there we go into a fusing cycle. We can make one mold per firing."

Out of the furnace come shiny, sleek tiles and a future business venture.

Brandon: "More specifically, a glass accent tile that can be used on walls or floor coverings or black splashes that sort of thing."

Brandon and his teammates started off making square tiles like this, but after doing some research and talking with distributors they found that there's a market for rectangular, small squares and colorful tiles. They hope to start up a company by this summer, working out of a bigger facility possibly in a small town.

"Very excited."

The three will work with restaurants and bars to get free glass.

Brandon: "Basically the transportation to collect the glass is what it costs us."

For now, the business plans are just that, plans. But the product is ready to go.

Dr. Wells: “If I could give them a higher grade than an “A” I would."

Only 30% of post-consumer glass is recycled.

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