Recycling construction materials

Recycling glass from construction projects


Most glass waste is produced by demolition projects and the replacement of windows in refurbishment projects (flat glass). It also comes from:

  • fluorescent lighting
  • PC monitors and TV screens
  • structural glass - eg in modern office blocks

The main causes of glass wastage are:

  • over ordering of materials
  • breakages during installation
  • damage during storage

Recycling options for glass

You can recycle waste glass produced on your construction site by:

  • crushing
  • screening to remove contamination
  • air classification
  • optical sorting
  • size classification
  • washing and drying

Recovered glass can also be used for:

  • aggregates
  • decorative materials
  • fluxing agent in the manufacture of bricks and ceramics
  • filtration medium
  • insulation
  • containers
  • sports turf applications
  • abrasives

However, there are some limitations on using recycled glass. For example:

  • glass extraction and recovery can be expensive
  • loading and transporting glass to cullet collection centres can cost money
  • flat glass can be contaminated, which requires reprocessing before reuse

Making changes to your site operations

You can make simple yet effective changes to your site's operations to reduce glass waste and allow more to be recycled by:

  • providing staff with training in the handling of materials
  • separating glass waste to avoid damage and contamination
  • providing dedicated storage areas to reduce the risk of damage
  • arranging for materials to be delivered at the time and place on site they are required to reduce the risk of breakages during handling and storage
  • arranging transport to move glass waste to cullet collection centres
  • keeping records to prevent over ordering and minimise stock held on site

See window supply and installation - how to cut waste and costs.

You can find licensed waste sites to recycle or dispose of glass.