Turning glass waste into green building material is an environmental project being undertaken by a construction company in Seychelles.
The project is a partnership between Rogan's Construction Company, located at Baie Lazare, on the southern part of the main island Mahe, and Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S), a not-for-profit organisation promoting sustainable living.
The executive director of S4S, Michele Martin, told SNA that recycling glass materials is a perfect way to reduce the amount of waste going into the waters and landfill.
"However, this will not entirely substitute construction materials such as aggregates, concretes and crusher dust produced by big companies in the island nation, but it will serve as an alternative," said Martin.
A lot of glasses are needed to produce 1 tonne of glass aggregates and due to the low production in the island nation, it needs to be blended with other materials such as rock crusher dust, or sand in a large construction project.
The managing director of the Rogan's Construction Company, Rogan Ernestine, who has a glass crusher, told SNA that crushing and collection is not done on a regular schedule.
"Collection is occasionally done by the public depositing their waste glasses at our workshop," said Ernestine who added that crushing glass is not a profitable business, but he is doing it to preserve the environment.
The crushed glass bottles are used as aggregate in construction application projects. Common applications in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, are the tiles used in interior decoration and levelling concrete floors.
Glass bottle is made from four main ingredients -- sand, soda ash, limestone and other additives for colour or special treatments. Too much of these components in the environment can cause potential damage to plants and animals.
According to a 2016 provisional study of the landfill in Seychelles, 90 percent of the glass entering the country, and that is mainly bottles, glassware and light bulbs, ends up in the landfill.
The chief executive of S4S said that glass is ideal for recycling since none of the material is degraded by normal use and crushed glass retains its normal colour.
"This greatly enhances the aesthetic appeal of the concrete aggregate. Recent research findings have shown that concrete made with recycled glass aggregates have shown better long term strength and better thermal insulation due to the thermal properties of the glass aggregates," said Martin.
Martin said that using such recycling item can help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the process of making new bottles.
The Sustainability for Seychelles organisation started a glass collection project in 2011 and the targeted areas were at public sites, hotels and restaurants on Mahe. It also included a promotional campaign encouraging hotels and consumers to be involved in the project. The project was not fully implemented.
The glass recycling project is in line with the government's aim for innovative ways to collect and recycle the waste in Seychelles. According to the Landscape and Waste Management Agency, last year a total of 70,000 tonnes of waste was deposited at the main landfill at Providence, on the eastern coast of Mahe. It represents 80 percent of the total amount of waste produced by the Seychellois population. The remaining 20 percent which is made up of plastic bottles and scrap metal is recycled.
Aside from Rogan's Construction Company, Seychelles Breweries is the only other local involved in the recycling of glass. The company has a deposit of 2 Seychelles rupees on each of its bottle which is refunded when returned to any shop. Currently, the company processes about 125 tonnes of bottles per year.