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Austroads promotes use of recycled glass in transport infrastructure

Austroads has published documentation to encourage the use of recycled crushed glass in transport infrastructure.

A technical specification sets out the minimum requirements for the manufacture and supply of recycled crushed glass for use in bedding, backfilling material, concrete, road drainage, embankment fill, and landscaping applications.

The specification, based on national and international best practices, harmonises the requirements for the use of recycled crushed glass across Australia and New Zealand.

Additionally, Austroads’ new guideline provides potential recyclers with the information they need to gain a better understanding of how recycled crushed glass should be processed to make it fit-for-purpose for infrastructure applications.

As well as providing guidance on meeting performance requirements, processing volumes are also considered to allow processors to make informed choices regarding the most appropriate equipment to use for processing recycled crushed glass. Examples of methods currently used by industry are also presented.

The work supports government initiatives to increase the use of recycled aggregate from waste glass into transport infrastructure and road assets by promoting harmonised practice and specifications amongst road agencies, state and territory governments and local governments.

The potential work health and safety and environmental risks of using recycled crushed glass is low.

When the material complies with recommended requirements and specifications, processing can produce a consistent and sufficiently clean source of recycled crushed glass aggregate that is unlikely to leach and have a negative impact on the environment when used in geotechnical and pavement road infrastructure applications.

Material property data available indicates that good‑quality recycled crushed glass sand generally exhibits similar characteristic to natural sand.

In 2019, the Council of Australian Governments agreed to deliver an export ban on certain types of waste plastics, paper, tyres, and glass. The first step for the export ban commenced in January 2021, prohibiting the export of whole or broken unprocessed glass items. In response, Austroads commissioned a project to facilitate the development of a practicable end-market for recycled crushed glass in the transport sector, helping to reduce the amount of glass going to landfill.

While recycled glass is not new, its applications and variability have substantially increased in complexity.

In summary, the research found that recycled crushed glass should be clean, hard and durable, and free from contamination. Depending on the application, recycled crushed glass may be used as a direct substitute for natural granular materials or as a portion of the aggregate for blending, or as fine aggregate in concrete applications.

To download the Technical Report, click here.


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