Realm of Design is a company based in Nevada that has taken recycling and created a unique and versatile building material from it.
Using recycled glass from beverage bottles, which are abundant in their location, they crush up the old containers and turn them into, well, just about anything they want.
Their product, called GreenStone, can be made into endless items including flooring, columns, counters, fountains, staircases, gazebos and many other architectural creations. It can be formed to resemble many materials like metals, concrete and wood. Designs can even be done in specific colors using colored crushed glass.
It can also be used in home building, as demonstrated in the Morrow Royal Pavilion.
Currently holding the position of the word’s largest building made from recycled bottles, it is a massive 30,000 square foot construction. Using 500,000 glass bottles for the exterior’s facade alone, this is the equivalent of more than 290,000 pounds of recycled glass.
The building also has panels attached to the structure which actually move due to an internal clip system that allows for swaying movements. This is designed to stand up in natural weather occurrences, like storms, that may alter structures or their foundations.
The concept and product was developed by the designer and owner, Scott McCombs, and his research on how coliseums were built in Rome by using the ash deposit left from ancient volcanoes. The process uses fly ash, which is a natural deposit cement that can harden with other specific ingredients. He found that western ash is relatively low in toxicity and heavy metals, and can work as a sturdy building cement.
After finding the correct formula for the ash that encompassed the least environmental effects, the final product led to a natural concrete substance. This can be combined with the crushed glass and assembled, offering a great alternative to traditionally used new materials.
After collection the bottles are loaded on a conveyor and into a crusher. The system separates out any labels and crushes the glass to a fine consistency so that it is no longer sharp and resembles a chunky, brightly colored sand. The final product becomes a construction grade, 100% recycled glass material that is ready to be mixed in with the ash based cement and put to work.
This unique and successful family business with a green approach helps to seal up the loop in local glass recycling and landfill waste. Smart idea.
All photographs are courtesy of Realm of Design.
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