Although glass is thought of as being relatively eco-friendly because it’s recyclable, the fact is that a lot of it doesn’t get recycled – this is particularly true of small fragments, that are too fiddly to sort. Now, however, scientists are suggesting that glass waste could be used to make concrete that’s stronger and cheaper than ever.

Led by Dr. Riyadh Al-Ameri, researchers at Australia’s Deakin University started with various pieces of non-recyclable glass, then ground them up into a coarse powder. They then utilized that powder as an aggregate in polymer concrete, in place of the sand that’s normally used. Polymer concrete itself substitutes polymer resin for cement as a binding agent, and is typically used in applications such as waterproof flooring.

Additionally, because sand has to be mined, washed and graded, it was determined that use of the ground glass resulted in lower concrete production costs. What’s more, while a shortage of appropriate sand has been predicted, there are currently stockpiles of old glass that are just sitting around unprocessed.

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