The New Zealand High Commission is pleased to be involved in a unique green initiative —turning glass to sand. Udit Singhal, a high school student from New Delhi, has started a project aimed at reducing the environmental impact of unrecycled glass bottles.
Udit sources glass bottles and crushes them into the sand using the machine invented and made in New Zealand. He purchased the machine—an innovation by Kiwi company Expleco Ltd—and brought it to Delhi with the help of a grant from the New Zealand High Commission.
Glass bottles are dumped in landfills in the thousands, taking up space—a scarce resource—and increasing the burden on the environment. The machine achieves a 90 per cent volume reduction of the bottles and takes just under 10 seconds to crush a single bottle. A bottle of beer (330 ml) can yield 263 gm of sand, while a champagne bottle (750 ml) can produce 838 gm of sand. The sand thus produced is safe to be used in brick-making, construction, road repair, and on beaches and golf bunkers. As the sand produced is the same colour as the bottles, the multi-coloured sand can serve a decorative purpose as well.
“Of the 8000 tonnes of solid waste collected in Delhi alone, glass accounts for about 80 tonnes. I chanced upon an innovative solution to a grave problem. Sand is the only by-product of this process in which there is no other waste generated,” says Udit.
Over time, as demand grows for the sand, Udit’s intention is to be able to combine the environmental benefits with a social enterprise, paying ragpickers for bottles they provide.
“We are happy to support the Glass2Sand project as it ties in with our focus on sustainability and the environment. Glass waste should not end up in landfills or clog rivers and lakes. This is an efficient, zero-waste solution, benefiting the community in multiple ways,” says New Zealand High Commissioner Joanna Kempkers.
The project will not only benefit the environment but in due course also provide ragpickers with a steady income for the glass bottles they bring in.