Closing the loop on glass recycling
Glass is an incredible material for endless recycling, transferring from an end-of-life products into raw materials (cullet) for new flat glass production. Where re-use or extending service life might provide improved sustainability, the next best alternative is the recovery of the End-of-life materials and use that as a feedstock.
Metals have long been recycled, glass has not had the same path. The free market has not provided a solution. The Climate Emergency requires us all to act now. It will take decades for energy production to reduce it’s carbon footprint, but we can act in the short term and improve the use of available material. This paper will share insights from research across the soda-lime glass supply chain about what has been achieved, and what is needed to improve this to make a practical and real difference. Along with flat glass manufacture it will also consider container glass and other products such as glass fibre insulation. It will focus on the UK construction market, but the approaches will be universally applicable; glass is a global commodity.
Glass Marking – Material Passport with Quality Control functionality
Currently, less than 1% of architectural glass is recovered from renovation and demolition of construction projects.
A key difficulty in returning glass from demolition is detecting the specific materials used in façade glazing. Material Passports (MP) aim to provide this information. The proposal of glass marking to provide identification as part of a MP framework has been mostly related to static marking such as kitemarks. However, the value of this marking only becomes apparent in 20 years or so when the glazing is set for recovery and recycling.
We propose a novel trace-ability framework that uses a smart, light addressable coating technology capable of storing relevant information directly on a single unit of architectural glass as well as on the cloud. Our novel framework utilizes lasers to store, retrieve and even rewrite information on a sub-millimetres region of a glass panel coated with a special class of functional materials known as Phase Change Materials (PCM). The framework could be extended to adjacent glass manufacturing processes such as quality control, and dovetail with existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems advanced sensors testing and calibration, post-installation serialization and more, both in-factory and on-site.