With the building industry following a strong pace, the use of pure quarried Maltese stone has reduced drastically. However, there has been a strong increase in this being dumped as construction refuse. With the aims of this type of stone not being lost, Malta University has developed a form of this stone being recycled to be used as an alternative to bricks and concrete being used today in order to make this stone available on the market.
This room at Ta’ Qali is the first-ever to be built from this recycled quarried stone following ten years of research led by Professor Spiridione Buhagiar and architect Franco Montesin at Malta University aimed at finding an alternative so that this type of stone being recycled to be used in current construction.
They said the project got underway ten years ago when they saw that material was being discarded and this was a pity and cannot anything be done?
Simultaneously, the use of pure quarried stone was declining and therefore tones were being discarded because they could only be cleaned and reused and therefore the time had come for these to be recycled to be reused as an engineered material with the required properties.
Architect Montesin explained that this stone product although resembling original quarried stone is laboratory manufactured and its characteristics are in fact better than originally quarried stone. Following tests by the Faculty for the Built Environment, this resulted to be more resistant to the elements, does not absorb water and does not deteriorate like quarried stone.
He said quarried stone is naturally made and contains natural defects but this re-engineering makes it uniform.
Professor Buhagiar explained this is a product of recycled quarried stone that is reduced to fragments and then being assembled with characteristics.
This recycled stone can now be adapted to various situations such as long-term processes and is not just a product to be dumped on the market because once used it has to be assured that after a process of time this does not cause problems.
The Professor said that a number of architects have already shown interest in the product from the project ReStone which has been developed with Government and private collaboration.
Currently studies are ongoing to ascertain whether other discarded construction material may also be recycled.