How we recycle glass to create sand for our roads

Our $500,000 Glass Processing Plant was constructed in May 2014 as part of the $3.65 million Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) project. Its purpose is to recover glass from the co-mingled recycling stream and crush the glass to produce glass sand for road construction.

Conventional glass recycling is costly and requires expensive technology to separate different coloured glass for re-processing, with a high loss rate due to breakage. Conventional glass recycling also only captures glass jars and bottles, whereas our Glass Processing Plant can recycle plate glass, crockery and pyrex. This means we are capturing more glass for recycling and less is going to landfill.

Through the Glass Processing Plant we recover glass and process it through a glass crushing facility to produce glass sand. The glass sand is sent to Blakebrook Quarry where it is mixed with other materials and turned into road base. The glass sand goes through rigorous testing to ensure it meets Australian standards for road base materials.

As well as ensuring more glass can be recycled, transforming glass back into sand reduces the need to mine virgin material for road base and asphalt, decreasing road resealing costs and limiting truck movements on the road. Making road base from recycled materials rather than mining virgin materials uses considerably less energy and water, and creates less air pollution.

The first road containing glass sand was constructed in June 2015 at Numulgi and we now use glass sand in all our road base. The only question mark is can we keep up with demand!?

Remember to place all your old glass, crockery, pyrex, plate glass, drinking glasses etc in your yellow recycling bin. The only type of glass not suitable for recycling is windscreen glass.