An Innovative Way to Recycle Glass in Hong Kong | AIChE

An Innovative Way to Recycle Glass in Hong Kong


Bhardwaj, A. A. - Presenter, Columbia University

Hong Kong is a bustling international hub with a glaring waste issue. The small island has already filled 13 of its 16 initial landfills, and the remaining three will reach capacity within a few years. The Hong Kong government hopes to improve waste diversion from landfill by bolstering the city’s recycling sector. However, glass is not included in the set of materials recycled through the city’s collection system. As a result, 93% of glass, mostly bottles, is disposed instead of recycled in Hong Kong, adding over 300 tonnes of glass to the landfills daily. However, the capacity for recycling glass is readily available—the Tiostone Environmental recycling plant has developed a novel use for glass. The plant crushes glass and uses it to replace river sand in the process to manufacture paving bricks. Unsurprisingly, the plant operates far below capacity because so little glass is recycled in the city. Due to the government’s inaction in creating a stream of recycled glass, I founded Glassroots, a Non-Profit aimed at increasing the amount of glass sent to Tiostone for recycling. I worked closely with Tiostone to establish and promote glass recycling collection points throughout the city, building a grassroots movement behind recycling glass. In this presentation, I will detail the chemical process used to recycle glass into bricks, and contextualize this process in the socioenvironmental state of Hong Kong.


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