Why Sand and Stone is Being Replaced with Glass Aggregate

Pulverized glass is breaking ground in the construction and landscape industries. Although it is no stranger in the industry, a lot of residential and commercial builders are looking for alternative ways to create eco-friendly environments. Sand and Stone is one of the most popular materials used in construction, and always will be. Natural sand and stone are recycled and considered eco-friendly. However, there is a new kid on the block that is slowly stepping on stone’s toes. 

Panoramic wall made of exposed aggregate concrete with abstract mosaic of gray and black glass stones

Wall made of abstract glass aggregate mixed in cement.

What is glass aggregate? 

Glass aggregate is recycled crushed glass that resembles gravel and/or sand. The glass, mined out of the industrial, commercial, and consumer waste streams, is recycled by crushing, pulverizing, and screening into a glass cullet, or aggregate and sand with rounded edges. Depending on which glass recycling system you choose, you can pulverize glass as big as rock pebbles or as tiny as sand particles in your hand.

Depending on the type of glass you choose for aggregate, you can add a mix of colors to get a customized blend for your project. This can be used for indoor and outdoor construction and landscaping. More companies are stepping away from stone and using cullet for more diverse usage, cost-efficient, and eco-friendly reasons. Exploring this option will not only save you time and money, but will also make most of your project sparkle in all of the right angles.

 

Recycled glass has more diversity

Believe it or not, waste glass aggregates are being used in similar applications as sand and stone. When mixed with foaming agents or cement, it is a great alternative in architectural or concrete products.  Polished concrete floors, countertops, tiles, foram glass insulations or lightweight aggregates. Decorative accents for pools, driveways, and outdoor plants, just to name a few. 

When you mix quick-set concrete and glass together, you can create anything imaginable, just as you would with stone. To give you some ideas, you can create custom stepping stones for outside landscaping, masonry blocks for construction, floor and wall tiles for interior and exterior projects, kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, and lastly, mix with concrete or glasphalt. 

In place of using regular asphalt or cement, some companies are using recycled glass in the concrete to pave driveways, sidewalks, and walkways. Some cities have used glass sand asphalt on the roads. Glass is an insulator, so it holds the heat making it easier to work with in cold weather. It gives the streets a bit of a sparkle, especially when it becomes nighttime. 

You can also do a lot with foamed glass aggregate as well. You can use it as a backfill, drainage medium, and insulation. As a two-in-one, you can use this as a thermal insulator within a concrete slab that will act as a drainage layer. Some construction companies are using it as a structural foundation for floors and within walls for extra insulation. 

Waste-Glass is Environmentally Friendly 

Arguably, waste glass aggregates are more environmentally friendly than stone. Since it’s coming from recycled material, it’s saving landfill spaces where it would normally live, while taking up to a million years to decompose. Since glass is 100 percent recyclable, it can be repurposed in many ways without losing quality. 

Glass aggregate also gives back to Mother Earth. It helps reduce the amount of CO2 that comes from formulating cement, which causes environmental pollution. When recycled glass is grounded down to the fine particle size, like cement, and added to concrete, it reduces the amount that’s being used, which makes Earth very happy.  

Also, it requires no mining. Glass is originally made of silica sand, which is obtained through mining and crushed stone, or from beaches, and mines coastal erosion, while harming wildlife and ecosystems, requires replacement sand, and creating new glass and/aggregate markets. It is best to use glass aggregate for your projects that will have a great impact on the environment. 

 

Glass Aggregate is Cost-Efficient & Lighter

It is important to work smarter, not harder. That being said, glass cullet is also known for being lighter than stone aggregate. The unit weight of stone aggregate is 1750 kg/m3, while most glass is approximately 1120 kg/m3. When working with recycled glass sand or aggregates or your projects, you will notice how easy it is to work with. This makes transporting materials a lot easier, and cost effective. 

Although light, it is still strong and durable for most of your projects. The glass sand is easy to compact and mix with other materials. When mixed with compost and soils, this is great for drainage layers and backfills. The filtration rate for glass and/aggregate is up to ten times faster than natural aggregates.

 

Conclusion

As sand and stone are becoming difficult to access, this is the perfect time to try glass aggregate as an alternative. Here at Andela, we will discuss all of your recycled glass needs by recommending the best system for your business and/or project. Our systems produce user-friendly aggregate with rounded edges that are safe to use in all areas while coming in multiple colors and sizes. We want to hear from you. Contact us for a custom quote. 

 

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