Most glass waste is never recycled as it is small and difficult to sort. A group of Australian scientists from Deakin University, led by Dr. Riyadh Al-Amery, have proposed a simple and effective way to process them and further use them.
First, the glass waste is ground into a coarse powder, which is then used instead of sand as an aggregate in polymer concrete. Polymer concrete, in turn, is a substitute for polymer resin, a binder commonly used in the manufacture of waterproof floors.
In laboratory tests, concrete with glass powder has shown higher strength compared to its traditional counterpart based on sand. In addition, shredded glass does not need to be washed and sorted, making the new material much cheaper. Another plus of glass concrete is that stocks of high-quality sand are rapidly declining, while huge volumes of glass waste lie unclaimed.
“Globally, the construction industry accounts for 6% of global GDP, ” explains Al-Ameri. “Concrete is still the main building material, and sand is one of the main components that needs to be replaced.”