How can we economically re-use glass?

Expression of Interest due October 15, 2021

Student Challenge

Research Nova Scotia, Scotia Recycling, and Divert NS are seeking innovative ideas for glass reuse and recycling in Nova Scotia. Challenge participants are encouraged to engage with potential end users or industry partners to identify realistic, feasible, and beneficial uses for recycled glass.

Challenge participation is open to individual students, student teams, and classes in mechanical and chemical engineering, design and materials, sustainability, and other relevant subject areas in postsecondary institutions across Nova Scotia. Undergraduate and graduate students from universities and colleges across Nova Scotia are invited to participate.

Download challenge information package.

Applications for the Student Glass Challenge are now closed.


With plastics increasingly becoming a focal point for waste reduction movements, even targeted by governments for outright bans, many consumers are turning to glass as a safer and more environmentally friendly package option. But glass jars and other glass products that do not qualify for bottle redemption programs can be challenging to recycle in Nova Scotia. The product is heavy, breaks easily, and has few applications locally. It is also heavy when packaged for export, meaning high shipping costs if sent to other jurisdictions to be used.

Nova Scotia’s engineering, manufacturing, and sustainability research capacity is strong. By tapping into the expertise of the province’s research community, we aim to improve alternate uses of used glass and reduce human impact on the environment through efficiency and waste reduction.


Challenge participants must register their intent to compete by October 15, 2021 at 4pm. The Expression of Interest (EOI) will include team members, an identified faculty advisor, proposed project idea and methods, and a proposed budget for materials (if applicable).

The review panel will review EOIs for eligibility and scientific merit through a screening process conducted by a committee of expert reviewers and industry representatives including Scotia Recycling and Divert NS, to establish that the teams meet eligibility requirements, have a faculty advisor, and can reasonably undertake the work they propose. Research Nova Scotia may suggest additions to teams to strengthen their idea or propose combining teams where appropriate.

Project proposals will receive initial feedback and suggestions from the review panel, providing guidance on strengthening their work should they decide to participate in the challenge. Up to 10 of the top projects may be eligible to receive funding ($500) for materials support. Scotia Recycling is also able to provide recycled glass samples to interested teams.


Eligible teams will proceed with testing their ideas and developing a project/experiment report that outlines the idea, what tests they have undertaken to demonstrate its feasibility, and why this is a good solution for Nova Scotia’s glass recycling. This report should also include supporting documents such as examples elsewhere in the world of this technology; modeling; theory behind new technology (if applicable); or other support as needed.


We encourage student teams to research other places around the world and how they are using glass in new, interesting, or innovative ways. Your challenge research may take place at your desk or in the lab.

Submissions may consist of one or more of the following:

  • Jurisdictional review(s)
  • Economic case study for cost-effectiveness of a solution
  • Lab-based testing of an idea, concept or application (glass samples support available from Scotia Recycling)
  • Other research-based methods to demonstrate the idea

Your idea does not have to be new technology, but it should bring in an idea or approach not currently being used in Nova Scotia. Please consider the best way to show why your solution will work here, and why it’s a cost-effective, sustainable, and efficient way to tackle the challenge.

Experts from Scotia Recycling will be available to respond to questions and provide an understanding of the glass recycling constraints in Nova Scotia, as needed.

Challenge teams will submit final written reports of their idea by December 17, 2021. Five finalists will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of industry/end-user and expert reviewers.


Challenge winners will be selected based on the most innovative, useful, and well-designed idea. Other considerations include creativity, cost-effectiveness, and environmental impact.

  • GOLD: $5,000

  • SILVER: $4,000

  • BRONZE: $3,000
  • Honourable Mention: $1,000

  • Honourable Mention: $1,000
  • In addition to cash prizes, finalists and award recipients will be profiled and featured on the Research Nova Scotia, Divert NS, and Scotia Recycling websites and social channels. Award recipients may also be invited to participate in video and/or podcast recordings as well as media interviews.


    • Expression of Interest, Due October 18, 2021 at 4pm updated
    • Final Submissions, Due December 17, 2021
    • Challenge Submission Review Completed, January 21, 2022 
    • Finalist Presentations, w/o January 31, 2022 (TBC)
    • Award Recipients Announced, February 11, 2022

    Applications for the Student Glass Challenge are now closed.

    Download challenge information package.