Use of Recycled Glass as Aggregate for Architectural Concrete


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Title: Use of Recycled Glass as Aggregate for Architectural Concrete

Author(s): C. Meyer and S. Shimanovich

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 219


Appears on pages(s): 77-84

Keywords: aggregate; alkali-silica reaction (ASR); architectural concrete; glass; recycling; sustainable development

Date: 3/1/2004

Secondary markets for waste glass have been widely developed in Europe. In the United States, on the other hand, most post-consumer glass is still being land-filled, primarily because it is mixed-color. Also, the need to clean the often highly contaminated glass constitutes a barrier against its beneficial use. For several years, an ongoing research effort at Columbia University has explored the potential of waste glass as an aggregate for concrete. The primary technical problem, caused by alkali-silica reaction, can be solved with existing means. The economics of beneficiating recycled glass in large urban areas such as New York City constitutes a more formidable barrier, because the standard aggregate that the glass would replace, whether sand or gravel, is relatively inexpensive. However, if the esthetic potential of color-sorted glass is exploited fully, the economic picture changes, and glass processors are more likely to create the link between curbside collection and concrete producer. A number of architectural concrete applications have been explored to date, and design professionals and developers have shown keen interest in adding high-quality concrete products to their palette of options. Some of these are already produced commercially. By developing a promising secondary market for recycled glass as a value-added component of architectural concrete, it is possible to offer the concrete industry new directions to shed its image of being environmentally unfriendly and to actively embrace the principles of sustainable development.