UBC Undergraduate Research

Possible options for reuse and recycling of end-of-life waste glass from deconstruction projects Vaughan, Veronica


Construction and demolition waste accounts for 20-30% of the waste in Canadian landfills. Of this, glass makes up about 1%. This number is comparatively small, but represents an extremely recyclable material that frequently ends up in landfills simply because there is little to no infrastructure in place that can accept it. The most important thing is to establish this infrastructure, whether it be in current glass recycling facilities or a deconstruction hub. Until this happens, the opportunity to recycle the glass is lost. While the best option is to reuse, this is often difficult with the glass from deconstruction, which is largely constituted of windows. These single pane windows are not energy efficient and cannot be effectively used in their current state. Therefore, the best option is to recycle the glass. Many of these options involve crushing the glass into cullet or fine aggregates. Some fields in which glass can be recycled include soil applications, construction and road building, and art and decoration. Currently, there are no options for obtaining residual materials from the glass if it cannot be reused or recycled. While most of this glass will likely come from deconstruction projects in the future, there is also some that comes from renovation projects and new construction. A deconstruction hub would greatly increase the amount of glass that is recycled, when paired with proper education on the subject. It is also important to gain higher levels of participation in deconstruction, which could be achieved by providing incentives like tax credits, and by mandating waste diversion minimums.

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