GLASS AND NON-RECYCLABLE PLASTIC: IS THERE AN ALTERNATIVE TO LANDFILL?

Wednesday, 27th january 2021 | Circular economy
Marco Arezio - Consulente materie plastiche - Glass and Non-Recyclable Plastic: is there an Alternative to Landfill?

As far as we can be virtuous in the separate collection of glass and plastic , as well as for other recyclable materials, there are some important fractions, in terms quantities, which cannot be recycled with mechanical waste treatment plants.

While waiting for the chemical recycling technology to become widespread and cheap, the human genius is working hard to find a different path to glass and plastic waste, sometimes mixed with paper and organic, which cannot be sent to recycling plants.

The cause of this waste of waste can depend on an incorrect domestic selection or packaging made of materials that are not compatible with recycling , whereby a fraction of glass and plastic, during collection, is discarded to be sent to the landfill or, for plastic, to incineration.

They seem small numbers but if we consider that, for various reasons, the percentage of waste recycled in the world does not exceed 10% of those produced, we realize how important and imminent it can be to find alternative solutions.

An Australian bituminous conglomerate production plant, in addition to the "green" bitumen recipes that already contemplated the use of non-recyclable waste plastic, has found a solution to use glass waste which would go to landfill.

The aim of the plant is to use, as a partial replacement of the sand of the bituminous compounds, the glass powder to create recipes that we have high technical characteristics with a view to environmental sustainability.

The production uses about 4 million packages of waste glass per day, producing 800 tons of sand with high technical properties, avoiding the spillage of precious materials in landfills.

The production plant is not only able to recycle the plastic and glass that should be buried, but also receives the waste of the exhausted asphalt which is milled and removed from the streets, subsequently recycled in the company and reformulated with other waste materials, producing approximately 500,000 tons of green asphalt every year.

If we consider the process of excavating sand from quarries or river beds for the production of road asphalt, we realize how many natural resources, fuels for the transport (with a high amount of CO2 emitted) we consume every year, which negatively affect the consumption of the earth and the increase in the carbon footprint.

The attention to the circular economy by the bodies in charge of awarding contracts for the asphalting of roads, requires more and more bituminous mixtures for asphalt that contain an important quantity of treated waste, creating at the same time recipes that are not only sustainable but also with better qualitative performances.

Automatic translation. We apologize for any inaccuracies. Original article in Italian.


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