Engineering team looks at recycled glass to improve building materials, protect environment

A Vanderbilt University professor and two undergraduate students in the School of Engineering are participating in an innovative research project that aims to use recycled glass to enhance building materials and infrastructure as well as reduce waste.

Juniors Emily Zeller and Nicole Witherell, both civil engineering majors, and research adviser Ravindra Duddu, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, are collaborating with the University of Alabama on the “Bottles to Bricks” project.

In 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that a total of 12.3 million tons of glass, roughly four percent of all municipal solid waste, was generated in the United States. Of that amount, only about 31 percent was recycled. Moreover, the amount of waste glass has gradually increased since 2018, due to an ever-growing use of glass products, and more waste glass being dumped in landfill sites.

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