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Several sections of MSU sidewalks are getting a facelift using recycled glass.

Several sections of MSU sidewalks are getting a facelift using recycled glass.

IPF partners with faculty to create stronger, ‘greener’ campus sidewalks

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July 9, 2013

Several sections of MSU sidewalks are getting a facelift using recycled glass, which experts say will strengthen the sidewalks and reduce the amount of glass taken to landfills.

MSU Infrastructure and Planning is replacing worn sidewalks around MSU’s West Circle Drive with a unique design that replaces 20 percent of the concrete with recycled mixed-colored waste glass. Mixed-colored waste glass was collected at the MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center, milled down to powder form and mixed in new sidewalks within the West Circle area.

The new sidewalk design is due to a collaboration with Parviz Soroushian, MSU professor of civil and environmental engineering, who has been researching the glass/concrete mix since 2008. Soroushian has worked with MSU IPF to create test areas for the mix over the past several years. “The research is a great opportunity for the university to partner and hopefully further advance the cement and glass recycling industries,” said Adam Lawver, landscape architect II/supervisor with MSU IPF.

According to Soroushian, lab results show the glass concrete is stronger and more resistant to the elements, which will lengthen a sidewalk’s useful life. From an environmental aspect, the replacement of cement with waste glass reduces carbon dioxide emissions that are generated from the production of cement.  Adding glass to the concrete mix also creates an outlet for the excess glass waste, keeping it out of landfills.

Before it can be widely used, Soroushian’s glass/concrete mix must be approved by ASTM International, an organization that develops international voluntary consensus standards. Lawver said if it is approved, cement and recycled-glass companies worldwide could use this mix design.

By partnering with innovative researchers across campus, MSU IPF is helping to solve university issues and working to keep MSU green.

MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities builds and maintains the physical environment for Michigan State University’s education, research and outreach missions, and directs the university’s sustainability initiatives and long-term infrastructure planning goals. The unit’s experienced team of professionals keeps MSU running 24/7/365, delivering an immense menu of services and providing expert analysis for university objectives. Call (517) 353-1760 for emergency service.