Recycled volcanic ashes

by Lorraine Williamson
ashes -

LA PALMA – Almost two months since the first eruption, and volcanic ashes continue to fall over the island of La Palma.

Officials, Obras Públicas GobCan (Ministry of Public Works) have Tweeted to say their “Laboratory and Construction Quality Services have collected samples of the ashes from the #volcán in Cumbre Vieja to explore its possible uses as a material.

Positive side

For the people living on La Palma, there still seems to be no end in sight. Ash, lava, and rocks cover their homes, land, and businesses. However, in the long term perhaps the ashes will show their positive side.

New soil forms after a volcanic eruption and is often rich in various sorts of minerals and nutrients that have many possible uses, not just for the plants. So, instead of somehow disposing of the massive amount of ash, the Ministry is looking at ways of recycling to make use of its qualities.


In fact, researchers from Sicily, have found a way to recycle ash and use as a building material. The properties of the ash mean it is well suited for construction. There are a high number of tiny holes inside the rocks which provide thermal insulation. Therefore, the researchers say they could be perfect in thermal blocks or insulating panels.

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Volcanic ash could provide and answer to the overuse of concrete. Research has shown that by using less concrete and adding ashes can make a building much stronger and greener. As reported in, “producing cement is a hugely energy intensive process that accounts for around 5% of global CO2 emissions”.

Other uses

There are also many other “every day” uses of the ashes including the following

Hair, skin, and teeth; Volcanic ash can soak up sebum. Therefore, it is perfect for those with oily or acne-prone skin. It is rich in minerals and has antiseptic, antibacterial and, antioxidant properties. Therefore, it can help to clear the pores and exfoliate the skin. It is also said to help with eczema, psoriasis, greasy hair, and dandruff. Also, it is a common ingredient in some natural toothpastes.

Plants; As mentioned above, new soil is created which is rich in nutrients for plants. The ash contains dozens of minerals which include magnesium, calcium, sodium, sulphur, copper, iron, and zinc. All these ingredients help to promote healthy growth.

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