Recycling Glass – How will it help to address the sand shortage?

The second most utilised natural resource on Earth, after freshwater, is natural sand, which is a frequently used raw material. But its shortage is now raising alarms. 

A sustainable and cost-effective substitute must be created in order to meet the increasing demand for building sand and its diminishing reserves, which will facilitate the transition to a circular economy. Natural sand can be substituted with waste glass, a byproduct of natural sand. Waste glass that has been crushed may exhibit geotechnical behaviour (properties) similar to those of the latter.

By addressing the geo-environmental issues of natural sand shortage and disposal of ever-increasing waste glass, using crushed waste glass as a substitute to regular sand may provide a dual advantage.

Some of the Natural Aggregates 

Natural aggregates, including manmade sand and gravel, have many different uses. The largest user of natural resources nowadays is the construction industry. Crushing and screening rock formations to various specifications in order to produce aggregates fit for building is a typical activity.

About 300 million tonnes of aggregates are removed annually in India alone, and this number is anticipated to rise further in the future years. The ongoing decline in easily available building aggregates is a major issue for the construction of sustainable infrastructure. The extraction and transportation of aggregates have an adverse environmental impact on the ecosystem because of their carbon footprint.

As a result, the environmental impact of construction materials is currently being considered more and more. The second most utilised natural resource on our planet, after freshwater, is natural sand, which is a frequently used raw material. Each year, between 32 and 50 billion tonnes of sand and gravel are reportedly extracted worldwide.

For example, 200 tonnes of sand are needed to build a medium-sized house; 3,000 tonnes are needed to build a hospital; and 30,000 tonnes are needed to build one kilometre of a highway.

Waste glass as a substituent 

This makes it possible to employ growing amounts of waste glass as a sustainable substitute for dwindling supplies of both natural and artificial sand in geotechnical building. According to research, crushed waste glass exhibits geotechnical behaviour that is comparable to or perhaps even better than that of conventional construction sands.


Therefore, crushed waste glass has the potential to be a smart and alternative geo-material that encourages recycling, eases the strain on landfills, and conserves natural resources, all of which contribute to the move toward a circular economy.

By admin

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