Colorado School of Mines professors turning garbage into glass

Breakthrough could reduce mining, landfill use

GOLDEN, Colo. - Dr. Ivan Cornejo, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines, was thinking about how we throw away many things which can be reused again.

"In the future I see that the way of disposing wastes has to be different than the way that we do it today," he said.

So Cornejo, who was the research director at Corning of the project that created Gorilla Glass, began looking at a way to re-purpose garbage.

What he came up with was a way to turn a lot of waste into the raw components to make glass.

"We found we have almost everything we need to make regular glass," he said.

And not just regular soda-lime glass, the type of glass used in windows. But high-quality glass that could be used for making Gorilla Glass, the glass that is used in all smartphones and tablets.

“If you take peanut shells for example, the yield of the minerals is quite high,” Cornejo said.

Cornejo said they have discovered that also corn husks, rice husks, banana peels and avocado peels all possess the silica and other necessary ingredients in making glass.

He said where the research is taking them now is to make it economically attractive and to find new garbage sources.

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