Solid waste management is one of the main challenges of the cities. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, Latin America generates about 216 million tons of solid waste by year, of which 19% are materials with a high potential for recycling, such as paper, glass, and metals. The characteristics of glass make it a material that can be fully recycled, however, only a small percentage is recycled.
Arenas de Vidrio (glass sands) is one of the winning initiatives of the Montevideo Resilient Challenge in 2020 for its contribution to circular economy. This initiative explodes the potential of the glass and uses it in the construction sector.
Arenas de Vidrio carried out a research on the possible applications of glass as a substitute material for sand for building. As a result, they identified the necessary granulometry for different applications. They conclude that a certain percentage of sand for building can be replaced by glass sand without generating resistance problems or changing the esthetic. The use of this substitute in cold mixtures improves the slip resistance of the pavement.
In addition, Arenas de Vidrio creates local jobs by employing small business of recycling.
This initiative has established strategic alliances with Beer National Industries and Bitafal Asphalt to study the to foster the use of glass sand in asphalting cities. The Municipality of Flores, Uruguay, is the first city paving a street using 2 tons of glass to replace 100% of the necessary sand in the mixture.
Arenas de Vidrio contributes to the implementation of the Montevideo Resilience Strategy in its axis of innovative and co-creative city, that recognizes the need to implement circular economy to promote sustainable development.
“At Arenas De Vidrio we promote the recovery and extension of the life cycle of non-returnable glass bottles in Uruguay, transforming them into raw material for other applications (construction, asphalt, filtration, decoration).”Ana Paula Demaria, owner
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Read more of the history, the experiences and the learnings of this initiative in the article published in “Circular economy and resilience in the cities. Innovative initiatives for a better quality of life” (in Spanish) of the Resilient Cities Initiative.