Why Sand and Stone is Being Replaced with Glass Aggregate

Pulverized glass is breaking ground in the construction and landscaping industries as residential and commercial builders look for alternative ways to create eco-friendly environments. Natural sand and stone are the most popular materials used in construction and always will be, but both are mined and not so eco-friendly.

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 pulverized glass that resembles gravel and/or sand. The glass, diverted from industrial, commercial, and consumer waste streams, is recycled by crushing, pulverizing, and screening into glass cullet, or an aggregate with rounded edges. Depending on which glass recycling system you choose, pulverized glass can exit the machine as big as rock pebbles or as tiny as sand particles.

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. Companies find it cost-efficient and eco-friendly.


Recycled Glass Has Diversity

Glass aggregates are used in similar construction applications as sand and stone. Mixed with foaming agents or cement, it is a great alternative for architectural or concrete products.  Other uses include polished concrete floors, countertops, tiles, foam glass insulations, and lightweight aggregates. It is also in high demand for decorative accents for pools, driveways, and outdoor plants, to name a few.

Mix quick-set concrete and glass aggregate to create anything imaginable, just as you would with mined stone. Create custom stepping stones for outside landscaping, masonry blocks for construction, floor and wall tiles for interior and exterior projects, accent kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, and more!

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

You can do a lot with foamed glass aggregate. 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 also act as a drainage layer. Some construction companies are using it as a structural foundation for floors and within walls for extra insulation.

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Recycled Glass Sand And Aggregates Are Environmentally Friendly

Arguably more environmentally friendly than stone, since it’s coming from recycled material, it’s saving landfill space 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 ground down to fine particle size and added to concrete, it reduces the amount of cement 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 dredged from beaches (which causes coastal erosion, while harming wildlife and ecosystems, requiring replacement sand). It is best to use glass aggregate for your projects that will have a greater positive impact on the environment.


Glass Aggregate is Cost-Efficient & Lighter

It is important to work smarter, not harder. That being said, glass aggregates are 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 they are to work with. Transporting these materials is easier, and cost effective.

Although lighter, it is still strong and durable. 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.



As sand and stone are becoming difficult to access, this is a perfect time to try glass aggregates as the 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. We want to hear from you. Contact us for a custom quote.