Recycling Technology 2020
ustralia generates almost 70 million
tonnes of waste per year of which 1.4
million tonnes is glass packaging such as
beer bottles and food containers. The region
of New South Wales alone consumes almost
half a million tonnes of glass products.
At the moment, some 57% of glass waste
is recycled. The last couple of years have been
tough, however, since it is more expensive
to recycle glass than to import it. As a result,
many companies are choosing to stockpile the
New polymer concrete
The recycling sector could be boosted by
a new project at Deakin University. An R&D
trial proved that ground recycled glass can re-
place sand to create a ‘polymer concrete’. This
type of high strength, water-resistant concrete
is popular in today’s construction industry.
It is especially used for industrial flooring in
areas subject to heavy traffic such as airports.
Currently, the Asia Pacific region is leading
the polymer concrete market, followed by the
Stronger and cheaper
Senior engineering lecturer Dr Riyadh Al-
Ameri says the addition of glass results in a
stronger product that is less costly to produce.
This is an interesting discovery for a sector
that represents 6% of global gross domestic
Mined sand requires extensive washing
and grading before it is added to the mix of
aggregate, cement and water. ‘Finding an
alternative to sand makes good economic
sense,’ Al-Ameri argues. Deakin’s concept
has even more appeal because of predicted
shortages of virgin sand in the medium term.
‘Our research provides the evidence the
construction industry needs to see the po-
tential of glass as a substitute for sand when
making polymer concrete and, potentially,
concrete,’ Al-Ameri concludes.
As a next step, Deakin’s research crew
will explore substitutes for the aggregate in
polymer concrete while optimising the sub-
stitution rate. They are already collaborating
with Melbourne-based Orca Civil Products.
Company director Alan Travers says the re-
search partnership has produced results that
are useful in taking the concept onto a com-
The volume of glass reaching end-of-life
will increase in future with research firm
Statista projecting the glass packaging market
will be worth upwards of US$ 70 billion (EUR
62 billion) by 2022.
Meanwhile, the EU’s mature recycling
mindset could make an attractive market for
Deakin’s glass recycling solution. More than
10 million tonnes of post-consumer glass bot-
tles and jars are recycled every year, represent-
ing a recycling rate of almost 75%, according
to the European Container Glass Federation
For more information, contact Dr Riyadh Al-Ameri
Dr Riyadh Al-Ameri
No more stockpiles:
Australia has big plans for
Ever since glass was invented some 3 600 years ago it has been a popular
material for various industries. An exciting prospect is that Australian researchers
have found a way to transform used glass into a premium building material.
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