Watch: Dubai beach transforms used glass bottles to sand

With this, the facility is aiming to re-use 50 to 70 tonnes of single-use glass that would have otherwise ended up in landfills

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Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Mon 5 Jun 2023, 3:33 PM

Last updated: Mon 5 Jun 2023, 10:23 PM

A Dubai private beach is transforming its waste glass bottles into beach sand! To combat the issue of single-use glass waste, Azure Beach Dubai has purchased a glass crusher that pulverizes glass bottles into “sand,” eliminating the need to send glass through a lengthy recycling process or to a landfill.

By using the fine and medium sand particles, Azure Beach will be able to reduce its need to import new sand for its private beach. According to general manager Eric Ballard, the beach is in its final stages of getting approvals for this. “We are working closely with waste recycling firm BEEAH to ensure that the sand particles meet the conditions of hygiene and are free of any bacteria,” he said. “Once that comes through, we can use it on our beaches to replace the sand that is lost due to waves or during sandstorms.”

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With this, the beach and its parent hospitality group is aiming to re-use 50 to 70 tonnes of single-use glass that would have otherwise ended in landfills, thereby reducing its environmental footprint considerably. Eric said that right now the group only reuses crushed water bottles and avoids using alcohol bottles.

Coasters, décor and pool filters

Photos courtesy: Sajjad
Photos courtesy: Sajjad

Apart from using the finer glass for sand, the group is also converting larger particulates from the glass crusher to create coasters, flowerpots and other décor items. One average-sized glass bottle can produce five reusable coasters.

Eric says the décor items have been used in several restaurants of the hospitality group. “We have a Greek restaurant that has a blue theme and another one in the front that uses black,” he said. “We have been creating coasters, ashtrays and other décor items for these restaurants.”

In addition to this, the crushed glass has also been used in the pool filters of hotels located on the beach. “I was chatting with the pool maintenance people and they said they were importing crushed glass from Ireland to use in pool filters,” he said. “I immediately offered the glass that we had and now that is what is being used in our pools.”

Economical investment

According to Eric, the investment in the glass pulveriser has been paying off in more ways than one. “We usually have to pay people to take away our waste,” he said. “By using this machine, we have reduced the amount of single use glass waste that needs to be transported. Also, the color coordinated coasters and other décor is something we would have had to spend money on. Instead, we are able to recycle and reuse these. So it is an economical investment in every way.”

Despite glass being an easily recyclable material, Eric says that globally a large amount of glass items end up in landfills. He said that even if there are parts of the crushed glass that is not usable, pulverising it is still beneficial. “The crushed glass has 90 per cent less volume,” he said. “So even if we send it to a recycling plant or it ends up in a landfill, the volume is considerably less.”


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