The Lismore City Council has partnered with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to trial the use of recycled glass in concrete.
Working additionally with Graham’s Concrete and Southern Cross University, the initial trial is set to use crushed glass blended concrete to lay a new floor in a shed at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre, with the the facility then planned to be used by Southern Cross University as a dedicated location to pilot further waste treatment and resource recovery technologies.
Finding alternate uses for traditionally recycled products is a direction the community wants to head in, as Lismore City Council general manager John Walker said.
“We are hopeful that this trial will demonstrate another successful use of glass sand,” Walker said, “this is a product that we can produce locally and is our preferred option over the associated cost and challenges that comes with recycling glass in the traditional way.”
“By reusing material locally, this trial demonstrates Council’s transition to circular economy principles, a focus of our Resource Recovery and Residual Waste Strategy.”
The project is a NSW EPA, ‘Waste Less Recycle More’ initiative funded from the state waste levy, with the grant allocation intending to support innovation in infrastructure, as EPA Director Circular Economy Programs Kathy Giunta stated.
“More than $240,000 has been awarded to Lismore City Council to use glass from kerbside recycling in concrete. This will create a clever circular solution for local infrastructure needs like footpaths, kerbs, drains and roadways,” Giunta said.
“Glass is a great option for reuse as sand as it won’t degrade over time and this project will help reduce emissions contributing to a more sustainable Lismore.”
The use of recycled sand in concrete provides an alternative for sand and other aggregates, with strong sustainability benefits for businesses and projects utilising recycled materials.
The shed will be used by Southern Cross University for several pilot projects as part of the ReCirculator program, which is funded by the Federal Government’s Strategic University Reform Fund.
The Lismore Council’s vision for the creation and facilitation of a regional circular economy that diverts valuable materials away from landfill and back into new products, is something which aligns strongly with the views of Southern Cross University as Professor Andrew Rose, Academic Director of Southern Cross University’s ReCirculator Program shared.
“We’re grateful to Council for the opportunity to jointly establish a pilot facility at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre,” Rose said, “this will allow us to showcase innovative solutions to waste issues, and we look forward to working together with Council, local industry and the wider community to help create a circular Northern Rivers economy.”
Future trials are planned test the use of recycled crushed glass in precast concrete products, with the outcomes of the trials set to be published by the NSW EPA in 2024.