Side Story: Making Blocks From Wine


Canadian company makes concrete with recycled wine bottles


Atlas Block, a family-operated company based in Midland, Ontario, is producing concrete construction and landscaping products using post-consumer recycled content.

Contrary to what many diligent users of residential recycling programs might think, colored glass is harder to recycle in basic municipal facilities, and, therefore, often ends up in landfills. Operating with a corporate philosophy of being responsible producers, the company is firmly “on the sustainability page,” says Atlas Block CEO Don Gordon.  Through intensive research and development, Atlas Block has developed a recipe that includes up to 36 percent post-consumer recycled glass in their concrete products.  The products are LEED certified.

The team at Atlas Block experimented with more than 100 mix designs over four years before finding success. One of the main challenges is preventing the alkali silica reaction that occurs when glass and concrete are combined.  An alkali silica reaction can cause the concrete mixture to expand significantly and crack, resulting in serious structural damage.

To solve this problem, Atlas Block partnered with Poraver, a neighboring local company that uses a special process to coat tiny beads of recycled glass, thus preventing the glass from reacting with the concrete. The Poraver facility in Innisfil, Ontario, has the capacity to convert 26,000 tons of product per year, which is about equal to keeping 40 million wine bottles out of landfills. At the Poraver facility, recycled glass is placed into a mill where it is crushed into glass flour and combined with binding agents, expanding agents, and water. The material is mixed in an industrial mixer, and poured into a palletizing dish that forms it into tiny beads. Atlas Block then uses tiny glass beads as an equal replacement for the sand component in traditional concrete manufacturing.  This means that an eight-inch concrete block by Atlas Block is actually about four pounds lighter than an average eight-inch concrete block.

The company is actively researching even better ways to improve its concrete products. A new state-of-the-art plant in Hillsdale has allowed Atlas Block to manufacture a wider range of products with a greater degree of accuracy, using laser precision and touch-screen control technologies. They can now manufacture concrete that looks like pebble stones and granite slabs for landscaping. Gordon also is aiming to soon be able to manufacture a concrete block made with up to 80 percent post-consumer recycled content.

“Over the years, there have been very few radical changes in concrete,” Gordon says. “Our goal is to transform the industry.”

For more information, visit

Related Posts

  • 50
    Concrete block has long been a popular and reliable building product for homes and buildings across the country. Now, block — or the concrete masonry unit (CMU) — is getting an aesthetic makeover, jumping aboard the green movement and finding its way into fast-install, mortarless systems.
    Tags: block, concrete
  • 50
    Using new masonry products and techniques can make mason contractors understandably apprehensive, especially with their reputations on the line. But new block systems can help contractors gain new business, increase profits and reduce labor costs.
    Tags: block, recycled, products
  • 33
    With an increase in the residential building market forecasted for 2014, the demand for concrete across North America is expected to follow suit. Extensive evidence shows us that concrete structures around the world are not meeting their designed service life, due to rapid deterioration – all of which is caused…
    Tags: concrete
  • 32
    Glass unit masonry, more commonly called "glass block," is being used extensively in homes for windows, showers, partition walls and recreation bars, says Bob DeGusipe, marketing manager for Pittsburgh Corning Corp. in Pittsburgh. The material is also being used commercially in schools, hospitals, office buildings and institutional buildings.
    Tags: block, glass
  • 32
    With an increase in the residential building market forecasted for 2014, the demand for concrete across North America is expected to follow suit.
    Tags: concrete


S26 HEPA Dust Extractor From Pullman Ermator

Ermator HEPA Dust Extractors are equipped with tested and certified HEPA filters that trap the smallest, most dangerous-to-breath dust particles and prevents them from being released in the air. A HEPA Dust Extractor not only exhausts perfectly clean air, it is far more efficient for the fast recovery of bulk dry dust, debris and other building materials found on every Construction, Abatement and Restoration job site.

Drilling and Chiseling Hammer Demonstration | CS Unitec

CS Unitec Drilling and Chiseling Hammer type 2 2414 0010 demonstration. For more information on the tools, drills and other products seen in this video, please visit:

PumpMaster | Masonry Grout Pump for Core Filling | Block Fill | Masonry Wall Grouting

The AIRPLACO PumpMaster PG-30 is shown on a jobsite in Nashville, TN with Masonry Contractor WASCO, Inc. ...