Concrete professionals in Australia would like to use more recycled glass in concrete, but chemical, political and supply-based barriers remain. “In Australia today, there is not one company out there that is actually processing glass [that could] be a viable product for construction materials,” said Danys Betancur from XL Precast.
Using non-virgin materials has gained in importance as the number of places to dump our waste has shrunk, presenting challenges and opportunities for manufacturers. Brent Balinski spoke to XL Precast’s Danys Betancur about using glass in concrete.
“I grew up with the mentality of the concreter — you’d come to your site and you just absolutely concrete everything, including around your house, much as my dad did,” explains Danys Betancur, founder and CEO at XL Precast, with a laugh.
“Then we would spend the whole weekend hosing the driveway.”
The world is very different now, and so are his views on sustainability. About a decade ago he began to get interested in the subject, and among his current goals are spending as little water and carbon dioxide as possible while getting a job done.
“Spurts of reading” led Betancur to overseas efforts on recycled glass in concrete. Widespread adoption has been difficult, despite decades of research on the subject, though this could soon change.
About a year ago he approached the University of NSW to overcome some of the major challenges, such as the alkali-silica reaction. This is when chemicals in the cement and glass react to create a gel, which takes on water and expands, damaging the concrete over time.as recycled.