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Though glass is generally a better candidate for recycling than plastic, it may come as a surprise to you that not all glass is considered equal - Since there is more demand for clear glass, most recycling plants focus on those, in lieu of colored glass, which often ends up in landfills. Now, a team of researchers from the UK's University of Greenwich has come with a great way to re-use recycled colored glass - To filter pollutants from ground water.
Led by Material Chemistry professor Dr. Nichola Coleman, the method involves mixing ground colored glass, lime and caustic soda and then heating it to 100°C (212°F) in a sealed stainless steel container. This helps transform the mixture into a naturally occurring mineral called tobermorite that is known to dissolve heavy metals from underground water reserves as well as, wastewater.
Dr. Coleman believes that man-made tobermorite can be used inside filtering devices and also to create barriers between clean and contaminated water - a task that is currently fulfilled by carbon-producing cement. If her method is adopted universally, it would provide recyclers with an added incentive to process colored glass, not add to our landfills and, help keep our waters clean without harming the environment - A win win for everybody.
Resources: Sciencedaily.com, gizmag.com