Ask G

Ask G: Glass with a past

Is there another way to recycle glass other than to make new glass products?

While reading about recycled glass I was disturbed to find that we are taking contaminated melted glass of different types to landfill. This shows a lack of thinking in what we could do with this resource. My brother-in-law in England recently got some recycled glass that had been ground to sand consistency to use as bedding sand for a paved area in his garden instead of normal sand. I thought this was a clever way of using a waste product. Would you be aware of an Australian company that is considering such a use of waste glass?

William Martin Bentley, Plympton, SA.

Broken glass

What's another clever way of using glass waste?


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The primary use of recycled glass is to make new glass products, but secondary uses are being developed for glass that's too fine for sorting, the wrong colour or too heavily contaminated to meet quality standards. These uses are mostly in civil engineering, rather than consumer products, so the average Joe or Jill is unlikely to come across them.

Alex Fraser Group, which was the first company to develop a recycled concrete to VicRoads' specifications for use as road base, is trialling the use of crushed glass in road base. In NSW ground recycled glass has been trialled as a bedding material for water pipes.

Other uses for ground recycled glass are in sandblasting, as a drainage or filter medium in construction, as back fill (a material to fill in excavated areas) and as a component in concrete and asphalt.