City of Yarra uses recycled glass and plastic in road resurfacing

Around 100 tonnes of recycled glass and plastic have been used in a road resurfacing project in Melbourne’s City of Yarra.

A road resurfacing trial took place in the suburb of Richmond, with Stanley and Margaret Street repaved with an asphalt product containing recycled glass, asphalt and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic.

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The project repurposed around 7300 two litres plastic bottles and 55,000 glass bottles, which is equivalent to the annual kerbside recycling collection for every household on Stanley Street.

The City of Yarra engaged recycling company Alex Fraser for the project and has called on the company to repair and repave more streets in the coming weeks, which will use an additional 1000 tonnes of sustainable asphalt.

Alex Fraser Managing Director Peter Murphy said this was a prime example of how a circular economy can be achieved – with government, industry and community working together to recycle problem waste streams, and invest in recycled materials to build new, sustainable infrastructure.

“The City of Yarra’s progressive approach to the use of sustainable material is an excellent illustration of how local councils can proactively reuse the waste generated in their communities to build and maintain their cities while reducing the carbon footprint of their projects by up to 65 per cent,” Mr Murphy said.

City of Yarra Mayor Daniel Nguyen said the City of Yarra had worked with Alex Fraser to incorporate sustainable materials like glass and recycled concrete into its road works.

“As a council with a strong focus on sustainability we are excited about using recycled plastics in our latest roadworks for the wide range of environmental benefits it delivers,” said Cr Nguyen.

$8M soft plastics asphalt plant for Lake Macquarie City Council

Lake Macquarie City Council’s approval of an $8 million asphalt plant in Teralba has paved the way for soft plastics and other recycled material to be used in local road construction.

Assets and infrastructure giant Downer Group is expected to begin work this month to replace its Rhondda Road facility with a new plant capable of incorporating recycled materials into the asphalt it produces.

Once operational, the plant will create new avenues to recycle and repurpose waste materials such as soft plastics from plastic bags and packaging, glass and toner from used print cartridges.

Annual production is expected to be up to 160,000 tonnes depending on market demand.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Sustainability, Alice Howe, said due to the “hot-mix” nature of asphalt all of the material produced at the plant would be used in Lake Macquarie and neighbouring local government areas.

“It’s exciting to know we will be one of the first places in NSW to produce this new, sustainable asphalt, using materials that would once have been considered waste,” Dr Howe said.

Asphalt made partly of recycled plastic bags has already been trialled successfully in Victoria and Sydney but it is yet to be widely used.

Downer General Manager Pavements Stuart Billing said the new plant would have the capability to use “significant quantities” of recycled materials.

“The new facility will be able to manufacture innovative and sustainable asphalt products released through our extensive research and development program,” Mr Billing said.

“This includes a better-performing asphalt product that repurposes soft plastics and toner from used print cartridges.

“This product has improved fatigue life and a superior resistance to deformation, making the road last longer and allowing it to better handle heavy vehicles.”

Commissioning of the new Teralba plant is expected early next year. Dr Howe noted that earlier this year, Lake Macquarie City Council started using recycled glass “sand” in civil works projects, potentially closing the loop on thousands of tonnes glass waste placed in household recycling bins each year.

“Our adoption in July of a revamped three-bin service, where all food waste is placed in the green bin and converted into compost, has already diverted more than 1000 tonnes of organics from landfill.”

Lake Macquarie City Council Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said the plant would support local jobs and strengthen the city’s economy through advanced manufacturing.

“The site for this plant is within our North West Catalyst Area – the geographic heart of the Hunter and a focal point for growth over the next 30 years,” Cr Fraser said.

Millions of tyres could soon be used in Australia’s roads

New national specifications for Crumbed Rubber Modified (CRM) asphalt could see millions of waste tyres being used in Australia’s road infrastructure.

The Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA), Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA), Main Roads Queensland, Main Roads WA, Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Road Research Board have worked together to develop and analyse research and development data to achieve cohesive national standards.

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The new national specifications could see nearly 10 per cent of the accessible feedstock for Australian tyre-derived crumb rubber used in domestic road manufacturing, which adds up to almost 4 million end-of-life tyres every year.

The document was published by the AAPA national technology and leadership committee to facilitate the construction of demonstration trials of CRM gap graded asphalt (GGA), and to promote the use of CRM open graded asphalt in Australia.

The crumb rubber binder technology is based on the technology used in the US, with the first demonstration section of CRM GGA in the Gold Coast placed in late June.

CRM Asphalt can offer better drainage, reduced noise, improved rut and crack resistance and reduced maintenance cycles.

Engineers and road contractors are now able to work within parameters of the new national specifications to take advantage of CRM asphalt and spray seal.

TSA Market Development Manager Liam O’Keefe said reaching a national standard has been a critical part of increasing the potential market for crumb rubber use in Australian roads.

“To fully realise this potential for that use we must continue to work with industry partners to ensure the delivery of better roads and better environmental outcomes for all,” Mr O’Keefe said.

“The important next phase of the task is ensuring that the new specifications are used. As utilisation of the new specifications grows, so too will the benefits to the end- of-life tyre industry.”

AAPA Director of Technology and Leadership Erik Denneman said this is a great outcome that has come from the close collaboration between industry and road agencies in Australia.

“For AAPA this initiative fits our objective of encouraging the efficient use of available resources and promoting the use of sustainable products,” Mr Denneman said.

The new national specifications can be found here.

Hanson Australia acquires Alex Fraser Group

Hanson Australia has acquired Alex Fraser Group, a leading provider of recycled construction materials and asphalt in Australia.

A subsidiary of the German multinational HeidelbergCement, Hanson Australia acquired the company after John Swire & Sons decided to sell Alex Fraser Group last year following a strategic review. The purchase price for the assets amounts to about €135 million (approximately $208 million AUD).

“The acquisition represents an important step for Hanson Australia and it further strengthens the market position in the urban centers of Melbourne and Brisbane,” said Chairman of the Managing Board of HeidelbergCement, Dr. Bernd Scheifele.

“In particular it will provide Hanson Australia with expertise in asphalt and construction materials recycling that complements the existing business and can be leveraged for entry into other markets. It is fully in-line with our strategy of value creating acquisitions, and we are expecting significant synergies.”

Established in 1879, Alex Fraser has become Australia’s leading provider of recycled construction materials and operates three facilities in Melbourne and two in Brisbane. It also produces asphalt out of two plants in Melbourne. Alex Fraser is expected to generate €20 million ($30 million AUD) of EBITDA in 2018 (including synergies of approximately €3 million ($4 million AUD). Alex Fraser will retain its brand and continue to operate as a stand-alone business.

HeidelbergCement is one of the world’s largest integrated manufacturers of building materials with leading market positions in aggregates, cement, and ready-mixed concrete. The company employs some 60,000 people at more than 3,000 locations in around 60 countries.