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Upcycling Glass Waste into Porous Microspheres for Wastewater Treatment Applications: Efficacy of Dye Removal

Samad, Sabrin A.; Arafat, Abul; Lester, Edward; Ahmed, Ifty


Sabrin A. Samad

Abul Arafat


Each year about 7.6 million tons of waste glasses are landfilled without recycling, reclaiming or upcycling. Herein we have developed a solvent free upcycling method for recycled glass waste (RG) by remanufacturing it into porous recycled glass microspheres (PRGMs) with a view to explore removal of organic pollutants such as organic dyes. PRGMs were prepared via flame spheroidisation process and characterised using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) and Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry (MIP) analysis. PRGMs exhibited 69% porosity with overall pore volume and pore area of 0.84 cm3/g and 8.6 cm2/g, respectively (from MIP) and a surface area of 8 m2/g. Acid red 88 (AR88) and Methylene blue (MB) were explored as a model source of pollutants. Results showed that removal of AR88 and MB by PRGMs was influenced by pH of the dye solution, PRGMs doses, and dye concentrations. From the batch process experiments, adsorption and coagulation processes were observed for AR88 dye whilst MB dye removal was attributed only to adsorption process. The maximum monolayer adsorption capacity (qe) recorded for AR88, and MB were 78 mg/g and 20 mg/g, respectively. XPS and FTIR studies further confirmed that the adsorption process was due to electrostatic interaction and hydrogen bond formation. Furthermore, dye removal capacity of the PRGMs was also investigated for column adsorption process experiments. Based on the Thomas model, the calculated adsorption capacities at flow rates of 2.2 mL/min and 0.5 mL/min were 250 mg/g and 231 mg/g, respectively which were much higher than the batch scale Langmuir monolayer adsorption capacity (qe) values. It is suggested that a synergistic effect of adsorption/coagulation followed by filtration processes was responsible for the higher adsorption capacities observed from the column adsorption studies. This study also demonstrated that PRGMs produced from recycled glass waste could directly be applied to the next cyclic experiment with similar dye removal capability. Thus, highlighting the circular economy scope of using waste inorganic materials for alternate applications such as pre-screening materials in wastewater treatment applications.


Samad, S. A., Arafat, A., Lester, E., & Ahmed, I. (2022). Upcycling Glass Waste into Porous Microspheres for Wastewater Treatment Applications: Efficacy of Dye Removal. Materials, 15(17), Article 5809.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 12, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 23, 2022
Publication Date Sep 1, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 25, 2022
Journal Materials
Electronic ISSN 1996-1944
Publisher MDPI AG
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 17
Article Number 5809
Keywords glass waste, wastewater treatment, upcycling, sustainability, circular economy
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