SYDNEY, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers said they have found a new way to recycle glass into everyday products, pointing to major cost and waste reductions for the environment.
The method extracts liquid silicate from waste glass and it can be used to make thousands of products ranging from concrete sealers and fertilizers to detergents and toothpaste, the University of Queensland said in a statement about its researchers' work late on Friday.
"We estimate the process is more than 50 percent cheaper than conventional ways of producing silicate," university researcher Rhys Pirie said.
"It requires less energy, raw materials and capital, and that's before you consider the reduced social and economic costs compared to landfilling material."
The technique "also leaves behind little waste, with nearly all of the glass being turned into saleable products" and saving tens of millions of tons of glass from going to landfill every year, according to the university. Its commercialization company has filed a patent covering the process and is now seeking commercial partners, it said.
Pirie said he is confident the work will "create positive, far-reaching and virtuous economic cycles".
He is now looking at ways in which waste glass can also be used to produce a "low-cost silicon-based additive to increase fertilizer efficiency."