North / South America
Knox company uses recycled crushed glass in proprietary building material
Jun, 29 2012
A Knoxville company has developed a proprietary material made from recycled glass that can be used for flooring, countertops and casual outdoor furniture.
Virtuous Products Inc. is the exclusive producer of Sedonite, named for the colorful "Painted Desert" around Sedona, Ariz. where the company was founded in 1999.
Founder Mark Wassenaar recently won the "What's the Big Idea" business plan competition sponsored by The Development Corp. of Knox County, Knoxville Chamber and Tech 2020.
Sedonite is made from crushed recycled glass bonded with a unique glue-like material that can be cast like concrete.
Unlike concrete, which can take several weeks to completely dry, Sedonite can be poured into a mold and removed within a few hours, according to Wassenaar. The water-based binding agent is easier to work with and less expensive than epoxy resins, he said.
"Lowering the production cost has allowed us to offset the increasing price of fuel. We can now afford to ship our products," he said.
Sedonite is considered a green product because it is made with recycled glass. Builders seeking LEED certification offered to green buildings can earn points toward certification by using the material, he said.
"We buy our crushed glass locally from a company in Cumberland County," he said.
One of the goals of the company is to install a glass crushing machine at the Petros plant where the products are now made. The operation has three employees with plans to hire several more, he said.
Wassenaar said he "kind of grew up in the industry" after working with his father in the surfacing business. He moved the company to Knoxville in 2003 where he further developed his manufacturing process.
"I've been in manufacturing my whole life. I try to get out but it just keeps coming back because there is so much creativity involved. I literally lie awake at night thinking of new ideas," he said.
Sedonite is available in any color that is found in glassware and bottles and is Class A fire retardant. Typical products produced using Sedonite include vanity and counter tops as well as "fire tables. Fire tables feature a gas lit fire on the top of the table.
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