Researchers from the Colorado School of Mines have provisionally patented a sustainable method to turn organic food and agricultural waste into glass.

The process uses organic waste (such as eggshells, rice and wheat husks, peanut shells and banana peels) that is rich in the primary minerals that make up the most common oxides used in the manufacture of windows, containers and specialty glass.

This discovery is not only a potential cost-savings boon for glass manufacturers, but also an environmentally conscious way to recast food waste as a valuable mineral source for the advanced ceramics and glass industries.

“Organic waste can potentially provide at least some of the metal oxides required to produce glass and glass-ceramics products. Thus, glass manufacturing processes provide a uniquely suited potential route to recycle and reuse these organic wastes, producing useful glass products and reducing the influx of waste into landfills,” said Mines researcher Ivan Cornejo.