Student Startup Turns Bottles into Buildings with Sustainable Cement

Photo of a bottle, broken bottle, and cement brick illustrating the journey of a recyclable into a sustainable building material.

Student Startup Turns Bottles into Buildings with Sustainable Cement

A recent study by the Glass Packaging Institute revealed that more than 50% of recycled glass put into single-stream recycling ends up in landfills because it is either dirty or broken, making it too expensive and energy-intensive to fully recycle. A Southern Tier-based student startup is developing a way to divert rejected glass recyclables from landfills while reducing the glass industry’s carbon footprint.

Jacob Kumpon, Jack Lamuraglia, and Tanner Wallis founded KLAW Industries in 2019 to develop a way to incorporate discarded glass recyclables into cement that can be used in houses, sidewalks, bridges, and more. The startup obtained a $5,000 prize from the New York Business Plan Competition, as well as additional support from Binghamton’s Koffman Southern Tier Incubator (KSTI) and Clarkson’s Cube Incubator to develop their startup and create samples of their sustainable building material.

“We’ve developed a working process and two tons of ‘prototype’ material,” says Kumpon. “We’ve talked to many customers and determined what they need from this product in order for them to buy.

The product is now being tested by multiple factories in preparation for Department of Transportation certification. The glass-infused cement is designed to be stronger, as well as cost-competitive compared to traditional cement, while having the added benefit of being more environmentally sustainable.

KLAW Industries recently joined the Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator at KSTI, which is providing the student startup with resources including specialized mentorship and funding opportunities. The founders hope to obtain grants to ramp up research and development, along with securing a facility in the Binghamton area to increase their production capacity.

States Kumpon: “We’re looking to restructure what sustainability can be, quite literally.”

For information on the KLAW Industries, check out the full story on the KSTI blog.