From landfill to construction raw material.
This idea is a part of The Circular Construction Challenge – Rethink Waste
1. Short description of the vision behind your idea or solution in response to the Challenge call.
The idea is to reuse the pyrex and silicate glass from hospitals, production facilities of medical equipment and laboratories as a raw material substitution in LECA ® material, bricks and insolation components.
At the moment, used medical glass is going for incineration at middle calorific temperatures at the local incineration plant and hereafter to the landfill. The pyrex and silicate glass from eg. Insulin pumps are being disposed of directhly to the landfills. At the moment normal types of glass are being reused by melting and blow moulding, but pyrex and silicate glass will block the nozzle due to different density in glass melting. Recycling of silicate and pyrex glass is difficult due to the different densities and therefore today the glass is being landfilled or disposed of together with household waste which actually is being treated at 850-1000 oC.
Due to the compounds that these different glasses can hold (- medical, experimental etc.) it is necessary to ensure, that the content of the glasses is not being exposed to the surrounding environment. Therefor it would be the best solution to incinerate the glass to destroy the compounds or recycle the glass in high temperature that’s ensure, that none of the products within the glass can be re-found in the final product.
The benefits of using the problematic glasses in LECA ® material is, that when the product (LECA ® Clay and glass light weight clay aggregates) has reached the end-of-life stage, it is possible due to the very different densities, to reuse the material once again either for LECA ® purposes or for other recovery projects in the construction sector.
A use of pyrex and silicate glass in LECA ® material will increase the insolation ability for LECA ® material, and thereby make a saving in energy and improve the environmental performance during the entire lifetime of the building material.
2. In-depth description: Idea
The idea is to use the glass (medical, pyrex and silicate), which can’t be used in traditional glass recycling, as a raw material substitution in LECA ® material to replace clay as raw material.
This solution is solving the problem while the melting point in the different types of glass is no issue, and thereby could all the glass be used from medical and laboratory equipment. The solution will solve the landfilling and the incineration of the problematic glass types and ensure, that none of the contents of the glasses can be found in the product afterwards.
At a previous state of this project EKJ Consulting has provided a consultancy service to Rigshospitalet to pinpoint the different possibilities for another reuse and recycling possibilities. In this study it was concluded that a treatment at Norrecco and the glass used as a raw material substitute in LECA ® was the best solution. LECA ® also had the willingness to enter the project, due to the savings in CO2-equivalents.
It is needed with different stakeholders to secure this project. To secure the line of stakeholders there has been established contacts to the different
• Central hospital of Denmark located in Copenhagen (Rigshospitalet).
o Previously there has been done a study on the masses, current waste management and future waste management solutions of the used medical glass.
o This project would be a solid starting point for an expansion on this project nationally.
• Novo Nordisk.
o Novo Nordisk has problems with their silicate glass, now is Novo landfilling all their silicate glass, without any potential for reusing or recycling.
• Probably other companies from the pharmaceutical industry (Lundbeck, LEO Pharma etc.)
• Probably other hospitals in Denmark, while due to information from Rigshospitalet none of them are recycling the medical glass.
Waste management companies used for treatment
• Norrecco (- MIJODAN in Agerskov, who has the ability to treat the glass, and make it ready for production for LECA ®)
o The previous MIJODAN now a part of the Norrecco company, there has previously been established a collaboration in relation to make recovery of isolation material.
o The Norrecco company has a treatment facility to crush and prepare the glass to be ready for the LECA® factory.
• LECA ® located in Hinge, Denmark.
o The LECA ® factory in Hinge has already implemented waste fraction to replace some of the virgin materials and thereby safe CO2 and raw materials in their production.
3. In-depth description: An outline of the competencies you need to realize your idea
The competencies needed to realize the idea is competencies in the following area:
• Regional hospital stakeholders via Rigshospitalet, who already are interested in the project.
• Waste experts to estimate the amounts suitable for this solution which EKJ will be able to provide.
• Transportation experts to determine the safety within transport which Norrecco will be able to provide.
• Experts to test the strength and static of the new product which Teknologisk Institut will be able to provide.
In relation to the trial production, there need to be the right amounts of glass for this project – minimum 1000 tons glass. The amount of glass is providable but the companies to deliver the glass have to be identified. This is due to the fact that the glass in many companies and hospitals goes together with household waste and therefor needs to be sorted out.
4. In-depth description: What you expect that the CCC program can do for you.
The CCC program would be able to help establishing contacts and create the necessary confidence to the treatment of the glass. It will provide the necessary step stone for the contact to different hospitals and laboratories to convince them, that the environmental beneficial reuse of glass is optimal and will “samfundsmæssigt forsvarligt”. The program could be the catalyst for making the pharmaceutical industry interested in the project and making them feel comfortable with the reuse of glass.
Furthermore will the CCC program be a technological port for knowledge sharing within the different fields of expertise, and this will hopefully lead to gain more knowledge and awareness also for other products that could be used in LECA ® or that the pyrex and silicate glass can be reused also in roof bricks and construction bricks.
At the end of the product the goal will be a minimization of the amount of glass waste going to landfill.
The CCC program will hopefully help by establishing a pilot project with the collaborated stakeholders, to secure that this project will be more than a pilot program, it will be a project which will make a difference for hospitals, laboratories, industries and the environment.