SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS - RECYCLED GLASS
Kerr Contractors Introduces Recycled Glass Aggregate for Construction Applications:
More and more glass is being collected and recycled but there are still thousands of tons of certain types of glass that go into our regional landfills each year. Kerr is developing uses to divert this glass material into practical construction material applications.
In 2010 Kerr invested in developing the processes and equipment to properly convert glass jars, windows, and other glass waste products that normally go in landfills, into glass aggregate and sand. In the process the result is a quality aggregate where the sharp edges are removed making the material no more dangerous for workers handling it than regular sand or gravel.
Drainage, Compaction, and Filtration:
Glass aggregate in some applications actually offers superior benefits over commonly used materials. When it comes to drainage characteristics in compacted applications, glass aggregate is well suited for backfilling retaining walls and trenches where drainage is a primary concern. When used to backfill gas, water, and sewer pipe trenches it compacts less densely than dirt or sand and gives equal or better protections to the utility lines. Glass aggregate offers improved filtration over granulated soils when used to filter runoff and waste water. The glass aggregate traps solid contaminates while allowing the water to pass through and acts as a superior filtering agent for this application.
Safety and Economic Benefits:
There are safety and economic benefits to using glass aggregate to top fill utility trenches. Equipment operators are likely to visually notice the change in material when they dig into a utility trench backfilled with glass aggregate before actually damaging the utility lines below.
Recently Kerr completed a project for the City of Vancouver where glass aggregate was used for pipe trench backfill instead of virgin rock aggregate. In projects like this we win twice, once because glass products are processed back into glass aggregate diverting it from going to a landfill, and a second win because we avoid mining our increasingly limited local sources for virgin rock material.
There are a number of applications for glass aggregate. WSDOT already approves its use for:
- Special Trench Backfill