A new collaboration between Icon Water, the ACT Government and sustainable infrastructure company Re-Group, will turn recycled glass products into sand for local infrastructure projects.
The co-mingled glass, which makes up 30% of Canberra’s household recycling, will be used directly from the yellow recycling bin contents and taken to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Hume.
The products will be turned into sand on site and used as pipe bedding by Icon Water for infrastructure projects in the ACT.
ACT Recycling and Waste Reduction Minister, Chris Steel, said the initiative would both reduce costs and be environmentally beneficial.
“This is a great recycling outcome, because our glass sand will replace Icon Water’s use of natural river sand that is currently trucked to the ACT at a high cost, both financially and to the environment,” Mr Steel said.
“20% of our glass that comes in through our container deposit scheme is actually used for remanufacturing into other glass bottles, but 80% is turned into sand so this application with Icon Water is going to achieve a great recycling outcome for Canberra.”
Trials for the project began during 2019, and $21 million worth of upgrades were jointly funded by the ACT and Commonwealth governments for better quality glass washing facilities at the MRF.
It is estimated Icon Water will use 200 tonnes of recovered sands in projects each year.
Icon Water managing director Ray Hezkial said the product had a range of benefits for both the company and community.
“Recycled glass sand is an amazing product that has the same consistency and texture of bedding sand but, most importantly, is cost effective, great for the environment and safe for our people at Icon Water to use,” he said.
Mr Steel said he hoped recycled sand would also be used for a range of other infrastructure projects in the near future.
“We also want to wash that sand so it can be used for other uses in infrastructure, including building concrete footpaths or building roads mixed in with asphalt,” he said.
“We are already trialling that on places like Gundaroo Drive and are looking forward to roll that out on a much larger scale.”