Poraver Takes Garbage Glass and Turns It Into Useful Stuff

poraver glass ball heated photo

No, that's not a total eclipse; it's a tiny little ball of expanded glass cooking at 900 Degrees C. People in Ontario go to a lot of trouble to separate out their bottles for recycling, but most coloured glass can't be made into new products, and ends up in landfills or road beds. Poraver built a plant in Innisfil, Ontario that takes that glass and grinds it up to a powder, mixes it with water and expanding agents, and sticks it in a furnace. The result: tiny white lightweight balls that can be used in a wide range of construction products, from insulating boards, to mortar, plasters, and concrete blocks.

It has been around for a while in Europe, and has been used in precast panels, insulating blocks and some really cheesy monster houses.

monster house plastered in poraver photo

as plaster images copyright Poraver
poraver insulating block photo.jpg

as insulating block and insulating mortar

poraver facade panel photo

as facade panels

poraver loose insulation photo

as loose fill insulation.

poraver glass balls photo

Conceptually it is almost the perfect green product: take an essentially useless product out of the landfill stream, and turn it into a fireproof, insulating, completely inert and non-toxic building product that replaces sand in concrete blocks. You can even mix it into the mortar, eliminating the thermal bridge that usually occurs when one uses insulating block. About the only downside I can think of is the amount of natural gas used to heat that furnace, which is probably considerable.

Making it into Block

atlas block photo

Just up the highway from the Poraver plant, Atlas Block is casting Poraver into its new PCR block, which are noise and heat insulating, and rack up the LEED credits for being over 30% post consumer recycled.

This is the kind of creative use of materials that is so important if we are going to make buildings that work on a carbon-reduced diet: Take landfill-bound waste and turn it into a value-added replacement for stuff that is dug out of the ground. We hope it catches on.

Two examples of how NOT to use the web: Atlas Block sends out a lovely brochure, but all they have on the net is a PDF copy of it. Poraver paid some designer a lot of money to create a flash-crazy, hard to navigate site with scrolling windows and annoying music.translated the really annoying German site. Lots of information though, if you can find it. ::Poraver