When Daniel Bosco, Founder and Director of Bluey Technologies, got an enquiry on social media about buying his company, he didn’t think it was genuine. Happily, that hunch was wrong.
“Then in December we actually started discussions. It was very much out of the blue,” he told create.
Those discussions began roughly around the time this title spoke to Bosco for April’s cover story on some of Australia’s recycled glass leaders.
Bluey won two Australian Financial Review Most Innovative Companies awards last year for its BluCem ZeoGlass product, a powder for acid-resistant structural mortar containing 60 per cent recycled material.
On 5 March this year it announced it became part of MBCC Group, the company formerly known as BASF Construction Chemicals until the completed acquisition by a US private equity firm last year.
Apparently, MBCC Group (Bluey is now a part of its MB Solutions Australia division) saw the merit in a local innovation set to put a big dent in two big problems: corroded sewer infrastructure and glass stockpiles.
“When I started Bluey, I kind of idolised them a little bit,” Bosco recalled.
“They had probably the most innovative company in the industry and were really good at bringing new products to market. [They] brought things like spray-applied liners and other things to tunnel construction.
“A lot of this was around the fact that [Bluey] did have some good innovation, but we were finding it quite challenging to bring that to market… The potential for this was far greater than what a company like Bluey could handle.”
Bosco founded his civil engineering solutions business in 2003. Inspired by the Chinese ban on waste glass imports in 2018, it started investigating uses of recycled glass, which makes up a large portion of its award-winning product.
According to Bluey, calcium in its binder inhibits the metabolism of bacteria, which digest waste in sewers and creates acid which degrades concrete. The company says its solution can triple the lifespan of concrete in sewer infrastructure.
The issue of glass waste has only gained in importance since the China ban. On 1 January, Australia banned waste glass exports altogether.
According to the National Waste Report 2020, 59 per cent of glass was recovered in 2018/19. This is up from 57 per cent in 2016/17, but there is a large shortfall to be addressed, especially through the re-use of glass in construction.
BluCem Zeoglass has been used by Sydney Water, which says the solution could use up all the glass stockpiles in the state within two years. It has recently gotten into projects along the east coast, trials in Southeast Asia, and been part of proposals in New Zealand, Bosco said.
Under its new parent company, with some 7,500 employees in 60 countries, there is a much better opportunity to make a difference, he believes. Both in developing new, more sustainable products, and in rolling out the current recycled glass cement.
“The volumes that they use in cementitious products are dozens of times greater than what we use,” he said.
“There’s a much bigger opportunity there to utilise that crushed glass. And then also just getting in front of organisations like Sydney Water and RMS and VicRoads — I think it’s just going to be a lot easier when we’ve actually got people on the ground in all the different states.”
For more on Bluey Technologies, Daniel Bosco and other recycled glass leaders, look out for the April cover story of create magazine.