Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Waste and recycling

Glass fines

While large quantities of glass are recovered for recycling, the collection and sorting process generates crushed grass (glass fines) unsuitable for re-manufacture into glass containers.

Using recycled glass as pipe embedment material

Tests and trials have been conducted to assess the suitability of glass fines as a replacement for virgin sand in some construction applications, with the results presented in the report and fact sheet below.

The glass fines were tested against a number of environmental guidelines to assess the presence of contaminants. The low levels of metals and organic material met the engineering specifications of the Water Services Association of Australia.

Following these tests, glass fines were used in field trials on two construction sites as an alternative to natural sand in the embedment of water mains and residential sewerage pipes. Workers using the material reported that it handled as easily as natural sand and posed no greater problems of odour, skin contact or dust than natural sand. The EPA has issued a resource recovery order (PDF 75KB) and exemption (PDF 56KB) to enable the lawful land application of recovered glass.

The report examines potential safety issues in detail and includes quality control procedures and a sample material safety data sheet for glass fines.

Report: Trial of Recycled Glass as Pipe Embedment Material

Recycling and disposal services

More information

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Page last updated: 14 January 2015