Researchers and industries are discovering the many uses of crushed glass. Crushed glass has been found to have a cheaper production cost and freight cost due to its lighter weight compared to natural sand. Finding uses for crushed glass also saves on the costs that are associated with sending a formerly unusable resource to the landfill. As time goes by, researchers are finding more uses for crushed glass and increasing the value that this resource brings to industry.
Crushed glass can be used as an abrasive for blasting paint and other materials from hard surfaces. Many large organizations including the U.S. Navy are approving the use of crushed glass as an abrasive. Crushed glass that is recycled from used bottles is nontoxic and contains no free silica, making it safe for blasting projects. Crushed glass provides an abrasive that can be used as a substitute for silica sand. It has a hardness of 5.0 to 6.0 on the Mohs hardness scale, which means it is tough enough to remove most materials.The Mohs hardness scale is a scale used to determine the hardness of a material by scratching it with other materials. A diamond has a 10 hardness on the Mohs scale, while talc has a hardness of 1. Many abrasives that are used in blasting projects have heavy metals such as lead and arsenic; crushed glass has no toxic metals.
Scientists have found that crushed glass can be used as a filler in concrete projects. Crushed glass is strong and stable and a very economical use for glass that previously was sent to the landfills. Using glass in place of sand reduces strain on the landfill capacity and reduces the costs associated with concrete projects. Using colored crushed glass can also increase the aesthetic uses of concrete by offering richer, deeper, natural concrete colors. Crushed glass does not weaken the integrity of concrete and does not pose any other environmental issues.
Crushed glass is being used for filter media due to its effective particle size. The abrasive nature of crushed glass provides a very effective filtering particle due to the microscopic jagged edges of the glass particles. Studies have shown that crushed glass is more effective at filtering water on a large scale than sand.
Crushed glass is also used in many places where natural sand can also be used, such as in construction projects. Backfill areas such as trenches and foundations are often filled with crushed glass. Construction companies are beginning to prefer the use of glass in place of sand because of the ease of transportation and the readily available nature of crushed glass.