Waste glass in concrete could be used for construction

Image caption: Damian Crough, Assoc Prof Tuan Ngo and Dr Ali Kashani in the lab with a block of glass-impregnated concrete
Image caption: Damian Crough, Assoc Prof Tuan Ngo and Dr Ali Kashani in the lab with a block of glass-impregnated concrete

By Sustainability Matters Staff Monday, 21 August, 2017

In the wake of the now infamous Four Corners report on the state of Australia’s glass recycling industry, University of Melbourne researchers have announced their work incorporating waste glass into prefabricated concrete structures.

The researchers claim that finely ground recycled glass in concrete is a viable replacement for sand and existing supplementary material like fly ash and ground-down slag from blast furnaces, with team member Dr Ali Kashani noting that glass can be ground down to particles of similar size to cement and fly ash.

“In the short term, we are confident that adding glass to concrete will allow us to build strong, light and durable non-load-bearing walls with a reasonably high portion of recycled glass,” said Dr Kashani. “Our work has shown it has excellent sound, thermal insulation and fire-resistant characteristics. We are looking forward to working with the cement and concrete industries and building standard regulators to prove the viability of using these products in traditional concrete structures.”

Damien Crough, founding director and board chair of prefabAUS is all in favour of upgrading building standards to allow glass in concrete, noting that existing concrete supplementary materials are “becoming harder to get and more expensive”.

“The cost of glass will be an attractive factor for industry as it is readily available and inexpensive, being about a third of the cost of fine sand or less.”

“The opportunities for a wide range of projects, and the environment, are enormous.”

The research has been funded by Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Packaging Covenant.

MORE: A brief snapshot of the Four Corners story, industry responses and alternatives on the state of the glass recycling industry is given below:-

Australia’s glass recycling crisis: the industry responds

By Lauren Davis
Wednesday, 09 August, 2017

Earlier this week, a damning report on ABC’s Four Corners program revealed that it is currently cheaper to stockpile and landfill glass waste than to recycle it.

The report stated that recyclers are currently receiving more glass than they know what to do with — particularly in NSW, which produces about 460,000 tonnes of used glass per year. But while the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is apparently aware of the problem, recycling companies are prohibited from stockpiling large amounts of material due to limits placed by the EPA.

So what are the alternatives? Some NSW companies are choosing to dump their glass waste in landfill, accepting the landfill levy of $138 per tonne in the process. Others are arranging to send their waste to Queensland, where such a landfill levy does not exist. The end result is that NSW’s glass waste is sitting around either in warehouses or in landfills, without getting recycled.

You can read the whole story on the sustainability matters website at: https://sustainabilitymatters.net.au/content/waste/article/australia-s-glass-recycling-crisis-the-industry-responds-809131767#ixzz4tHkXuBOf