Photo of Franziska Trautmann

Photo of Franziska Trautmann

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Glass Half Full

SSE ’20


Franziska Trautmann is changing the environmental landscape in Louisiana through ‘glassroots recycling.’ As Co-Founder and CEO of Glass Half Full, Trautmann and her team are leading the state’s efforts to recycle glass into sand and gravel for disaster relief and coastal restoration.

“Instead of working to create more waste, we are constantly reducing it and figuring out ways to avoid landfilling waste,” discussed Trautmann. “I also love that through our research, we have figured out ways to use the glass sand in the environment to protect and restore our precious coastline.”

While they were still students at Tulane, Trautmann and her co-founder conceived the idea for Glass Half Full as a response to Louisiana’s lack of a formalized glass recycling system.

“We were tired of waiting for someone else to solve this issue so we decided to take action,” reflected Trautmann. “Even though we were college kids with minimal resources, we decided to start recycling glass, however small our program would be. In the end, it has grown to be so much bigger than we ever expected.”

Today, Glass Half Full operates glass drop-off and collection services throughout the greater New Orleans area. Since its inception in 2020, the organization’s work has been recognized and supported by The Mike Rowe Foundation, NowThis, BuzzFeed, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Corona Beer, The Guardian, and The Gambit.

As an undergraduate student, Trautmann’s journey with Newcomb Institute began her first year when she moved into Josephine Louise House. She went on to become a Co-Producer of Hers, Theirs, Ours.

“I think the service-learning component of Newcomb and Tulane prepared me a lot for the work I do now,” reflected Trautmann. “I was given so many incredible opportunities to connect with the New Orleans community and learn how to be in service to others.”

Trautmann hopes to see Glass Half Full’s success grow over the next decade, and she hopes to find new ways to champion environmentalism.

“In ten years, I hope that Glass Half Full has expanded nationally and maybe even internationally,” said Trautmann. “I see myself as having started a new organization, while others are able to continue the work of Glass Half Full. I think I will always be in the environmental space though.”