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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2000
SD TECH RESEARCHER LENDS EXPERTISE TO CREATING A SOLUTION FOR UTILIZING RECYCLED GLASS
A researcher at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has been working closely with Jerry Wright ( CE, ’ 71), Superintendent of Solid Waste Operations for the City of Rapid City, to come up with a viable use for recycled glass collected through the City’s “ blue bag” recycling system. Of the aluminum, steel, glass, and plastic that come through the recycling system, glass is the only element that the city currently has no use for and is being stockpiled for future use.
In most cities the glass is recycled for reuse as glass, but in Rapid City we do not have the facilities to do this. It is not economically feasible to send the glass to a recycling facility in Denver or Minneapolis, so Wright has been trying to devise a local solution.
Two years ago a researcher at SD Tech became involved. Wright and an old college friend who specializes in high performance concrete, M. R. Hansen ( BS CE ’ 69, MS CE ’ 73), Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, put their heads together and came up with a solution: utilize the glass as an aggregate in concrete.
Hansen with the help of Michelle Nielsen ( BS CE ’ 97, MS CE, ’ 98) developed a mixture in which recycled glass was substituted for 20% of the sand and rock used, and fly ash, a waste product that results from burning coal, was substituted for 20% of the cement normally used in a concrete mixture. The result proved both economically advantageous and durable. The 20/ 20 mixture was be used for pavement patching on city streets and was tested at a location in Rapid City.
A second phase of the project brought in graduate student Terry Collins ( MS CE, ’ 99) who was responsible for developing a controlled low strength material that could be used for utility line backfilling such as when a water pipeline breaks in a street. His goal was to develop a mixture substituting recycled glass for all of the sand – and he did it! The material provides for good use all around. The Material Recovery Facility will save money in storage space at the landfill and the city will save money by using glass as an aggregate in concrete in both pavement patching and utility line backfill.
Wright feels this is a research project that other cities across the United States should also conduct. For cities with location problems such as Rapid City where it
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would cost quite a sum of money to send their glass out of town to recycle, they can
also begin to reap the benefits by using their glass in the same manner. Countries on a worldwide scale can also take advantage of the controlled low strength material as well. In countries such as Singapore that have no natural sand, utilizing glass as a 100% substitute for sand in a concrete mixture would save them the money it would normally cost them to import the product.
In addition to Wright and Hansen, Pat Tlustos ( CE ’ 71) of Hills Ready Mix and Jerry Brown ( MS CE, ’ 70) of Birdsall Sand and Gravel have played instrumental roles in making this idea become patching a reality. The “ blue bag” recycling system that collects aluminum, steel, glass, and plastic can now be a complete recycling system as a viable use for glass has finally been discovered.
( I: univrel/ pressrel/ 0200 Recycled Glass fxd stwd)
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