Scientists turn waste glass into everyday products

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Published: February 25, 2019 12:10:26 PM

UniQuest, the univerisity's commercialisation company, has filed a patent covering the process and is now seeking commercial partners.

UniQuest, the univerisity’s commercialisation company, has filed a patent covering the process and is now seeking commercial partners.

Scientists have developed a way to turn waste glass into everyday products, such fertilisers, detergents and toothpastes, a process that could save tens of millions of tonnes of glass from going to landfill every year. Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia have developed a method to extract liquid silicate from waste glass. It can be used to make thousands of products, from concrete sealers and fertilisers to detergents and toothpaste, researchers said.

“We estimate the process is more than 50 percent cheaper than conventional ways of producing silicate,” said Rhys Pirie, a PhD student at University of Queensland. “It requires less energy, raw materials and capital, and that’s before you consider the reduced social and economic costs compared to landfilling material,” Pirie said.

The method also leaves behind little waste, with nearly all of the glass being turned into saleable products, researchers said. “My PhD has highlighted how we need to make use of both the raw materials in ‘waste’ streams and the energy embodied in them during manufacture,” said Pirie. UniQuest, the univerisity’s commercialisation company, has filed a patent covering the process and is now seeking commercial partners.

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