Glass and plastics could be used to help build footpaths

End-of-life plastics and glass fines could soon be used in the construction of footpaths instead of going to landfill, according to a new study from the Swinburne University of Technology.

The research found plastics and glass fines could be incorporated into concrete footpaths while still meeting the standard requirements, and without compromising the mechanical properties.

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It is estimated that approximately 100,000 tonnes of flexible plastics end up in landfill each year, and only 48 per cent of glass waste is recovered for recycling, according to Sustainability Victoria.

The next step for this project is to include local governments and industries to increase the amount of recycled content in footpath construction.

“The use of recovered plastics and glass fines in concrete footpaths will divert significant quantities of these materials from landfill, while reducing the demand for virgin construction materials,” said Swinburne University of Technology’s Dr Yat Choy Wong.

This research project is one of seven projects that investigate new ways to increase the use of recovered class and flexible plastics.

Old tyres used to make footpaths that help water trees

New research from the University of Melbourne and Tasmanian company Merlin Site Services has found a way of recycling old tyres and using them to create urban paving that can provide water to nearby trees.

It follows a recent trial of the system at the University of Melbourne Campus which involved four different pavement recipes for different uses (footpaths, bike paths, carparks and low-volume traffic roads).

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The materials allow rainwater to soak down between the pavements, which will then be able to provide water for nearby trees.

The Tyre Stewardship Association funded research project is now investigating how viable using waste tyre products for footpaths is, and if it can even help irrigation and storm water management in urban areas.

Research will involve both laboratory and field testing through a pilot installation program to encourage the construction industry and local governments to use tyre-derived products.

Currently, 51 million used tyres are discarded each year, but only only five per cent are recycled locally.

According to TSA Market Development, Manager Liam O’Keefe, the aim of TSA investment in this research is to support the use of a very high percentage of TDP (up to 60 per cent) in permeable pavement products, providing another opportunity for sustainable management of end-of-life tyres to deliver new products and new jobs.