Victoria first recycled concrete trial in Hoppers Crossing

In a Victoria first trial, a two-hundred-metre long concrete footpath made with 199,000 recycled glass and plastic bottles has been laid in Hoppers Crossing.

The new concrete, developed by Sustainability Victoria and Swinburne University of Technology, was funded through the Victorian Government’s Research, Development and Demonstration grant as part of the $4.5 million Resource Recovery Market Development Program (RRMDP).

RRMDP was announced last year and aims to develop Victorian markets for recyclable waste, boost research and increase the use of recovered glass fines and flexible plastics in products and processing techniques.

The Swinburne University of Technology research team worked with recycled content supplier PolyTrade, Wyndham City Council and concrete contractor MetroPlant to develop the material.

The aggregate contains 2600 kilograms of shredded recycled plastics between four and eight millimetres and 5500 kilograms of glass fines —leftover glass particles typically between three and eight millimetres in size.

The glass fines and plastic are bound directly into the concrete through a technique similar to that used for traditional aggregate materials.

Approximately 100,000 tonnes of flexible plastics and over 60,000 tonnes of glass fines, which are too small to be recycled by standard process, end up in Victorian landfills every year.

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said the development of innovative new products helps encourage government to invest in building better waste systems that divert materials from landfill, consume fewer natural resources and reduce carbon emissions.

“Sustainability Victoria has been thinking circular for a long time, we can create more value from our waste by designing for reuse, keeping products circulating in the economy at their greatest value for as long as possible.

“A circular economy requires commitment from industry, government and the community, which is why we apply the principles to our program design and delivery,” Mr Krpan said.

The footpath will be closely monitored to confirm durability and performance, and if, or how, any plastics could potentially be released from the solid bound pavement.

The aggregate blend meets required strength and standards for footpath construction, with tests showing similar wear resistance to control samples.

Information from the project will be captured and used to improve recycled concrete technology to inform future projects.

Sustainability Victoria will continue to work with councils, Local Government Victoria and the Municipal Association of Victoria to increase the uptake of recycled content in infrastructure.

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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.