Glass can be considered as a very flexible material since it can be recycled easily without much effort. However, in Zanzibar, the large amount of waste glass now become a burden because most of the waste glass here is not treated when discarded. The glass ends up in the natural surrounding which potentially harm the animals and human living near these pieces of glass.
Zanzibar has long become a tourist destination of East Africa and an important part of this place’s economy. However, this place is a big contributor to the waste glass problem since none of the waste glass here has ever been through the process of recycling of repurposing. The result are piles of waste glass left in the beautiful sea shore. In order to end this problem, a company called Bottle-Up was founded to recycle this kind of waste material. They collect waste glass in the area and turn it into bricks that are used in building.
This was original a solution for 15500kg of waste glass brought to the company workshop by a waste collection company called Zanrec every month. Sadly, only 160kg out of a total of 15500kg was made into products for the Trending Terrazzo collection. Additionally, a Farasi hammer mill machine was designed and built in Zanzibar for the glass cullet production. This machine can process up to 10.000 bottles a day (8 times more than the current supply of the bottles) and can help to improve the efficiency of the bottle | bricks (bb)
Industrial Design Engineer Lou Van Reemst from the Delft University of Technology conducted research on the bottle | brick’s material composition in order to in order to find the best strength properties, limitations, possibilities and its feasibility and viability for the island. The purpose was to serve as apart of his Master thesis. The result was astonishing, the bb is made from the chupa (bottle mix), which contains 35% aggregate replacement with glass, taking up 42% of the brick’s weight. Different sample of bricks were brought to a laboratory in Netherlands to conduct compressive test on. The result was great since this product bring about promising expectation regarding economical and mechanical feasibility since the material was found to be twice as strong and price competitive with the local bricks – Zazibari ones.
Although the products were still in the testing process, the first prototypes have proved their usefulness by helping to cut down the cost of importing sand and gravel to the island in the building process. The blocks that were made form glass fragments, cement and crushed glass were so strong. Bottle-up is considering to develop bb and the recycling process nest year. They also decided to use the income from the bottle-up product to expand the production of bottle | brick. This is a great move since it not only helps to create profit, but also help to improve the environment of the Zanzibar island.