Kirk Richardson, Director City Operations, City of Onkaparinga, explains how the council is using recycled glass and soft plastic in the first SA road.
Metro Trains Melbourne recently altered their specifications to include the use of recycled materials.
The new specifications enable more than 900 tonnes of recycled glass sand to be used as bedding for the combined service route on the Kororoit Creek Road Level Crossing Removal Project.
Kororoit Creek Road is part of the VicRoads Principal Freight Network thoroughfare in Victoria’s west, taking more than 22,000 cars to Laverton, Williams, Altona and beyond.
The Level Crossing Removal Project along with the Western Program Alliance undertook a grade separation at Kororoit Creek Road (placing rail over road at Williamstown North), comprising McConnell Dowell, Arup, Mott McDonald and Metro Trains Melbourne.
Alex Fraser’s recycled sand was used as bedding material for the combined services conduit housing the communications and power cables.
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Rebecca Hendy, Senior Sustainability Advisor for the Western Program Alliance said the decision to choose recycled product over virgin material was simple.
“We found a recycled, low embodied energy material that could aptly replace virgin sand; with all 900 tonnes diverted from landfill and delivered at a lower cost. It was a simple decision,” she said.
The Level Crossing Removal Project set a target for the Western Program Alliance to achieve an ‘Excellent’ sustainability rating – measured by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s rating tool – which rewards the use of recycled material.
MTM Environment and Sustainability Manager Christian Beasley said Metro Trains Melbourne now encourages all projects installing new CSR or drainage to use recycled products.
“We have access to a great new sustainable product we can use on all metropolitan railways (Metro Trains Melbourne network). Because it is a Metro Trains Melbourne specification it can be applied without requiring approval on all metropolitan railways combined service routes and drainage bedding,” said Christian.
Alex Fraser Sales Manager Jason Walsh said clear specifications were the key to increasing the use of sustainable, recycled products in new infrastructure.
“We’ve seen that recycling works best when government agencies clearly endorse the use of recycled materials in specifications. This enables the people building our infrastructure to use green products that reduce their project’s carbon footprint.
“The Kororoit Creek Road Level Crossing Removal Project is a great example of what needs to happen to achieve a circular economy around rail infrastructure materials. Congratulations to the teams at the Level Crossing Removal Project the Western Program Alliance for this initiative; especially Rebecca and Christian who enabled a change that will bring about better outcomes for the community and environment,” Mr Walsh said.
Over the years, Green Roads by Alex Fraser has diverted almost one million tonnes of glass from landfill to supply recycled glass sand (in asphalt, road base and pipe bedding) to a variety of Victorian road and infrastructure projects.
The upcoming launch of Alex Fraser’s new state-of-the-art glass recycling plant will enable recycling of even the most problematic glass waste streams (like CSP) into into clean, high-specification construction sand; putting an end to landfill and stockpiling of glass in Victoria.
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The first South Australian road built with soft plastics and glass at Happy Valley in the City of Onkaparinga will utilise plastic from approximately 139,000 plastic bags and packaging and 39,750 glass bottle equivalents.
Along with soft plastics and glass, toner from about 3200 used printer cartridges and more than 50 tonnes of recycled asphalt were also repurposed to create 265 tonnes of asphalt used to construct the road along Caribbean Crescent in Happy Valley.
Downer Executive General Manager Road Services Dante Cremasco said the milestone event demonstrated the importance of partnerships with other thought leaders to create economic, social and environmental value for products that would more than likely end up in landfill, stockpiled, or as a pollutant in natural environments.
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“Together with City of Onkaparinga and our partners, we have proven that with thought leadership and the tenacity to make a positive difference, we have set a new benchmark in the state when it comes to sustainability by creating new avenues to recycle and repurpose waste materials into new streams of use. It’s all about pulling products, not pushing waste,” Mr Cremasco said.
“Further to the direct sustainability benefits, this cost competitive road product called Reconophalt has enhanced properties of improved strength and resistance to deformation making the road last longer, andallowing it to better handle heavy vehicle traffic,” Mr Cremasco added.
City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson said this is an exciting South Australian first and demonstrates council’s commitment to working with industry on innovative and cost-effective solutions to a changing operating environment.
“The City of Onkaparinga manages and maintains over 1350 kilometres of sealed roads and works hard to ensure they’re well maintained as cost effectively as possible and in line with leading asset management principles,” Mayor Thompson said.
“We also collect approximately 14,000 tonnes of recyclables every year. Major disruptions in international markets for recyclables over the last 12 months present significant challenges, as well as emerging opportunities.”
“Creating local demand for recyclables products is one such opportunity and this is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by government working with industry.”
Downer partnered closely with Close the Loop to tailor waste products such as soft plastics to suit a road construction application.
“Our close partnership with Downer, along with our collaborative partnership with RED Group has allowed us to design, develop and manufacture sustainable products using problematic waste streams. We are very pleased to see soft plastics used for the first time in a SA road,” said Nerida Mortlock, General Manager of Close the Loop Australia.
ACT Roads Minister Chris Steel has announced a trial of a material composed of recycled glass and soft plastics as part of the state government’s annual resurfacing program in October.
Plastiphalt – a material composed of recycled glass and soft plastics – will be trialled on existing sections of Horse Park Drive and Gundaroo Drive during the ACT Government’s $16 million 2018-19 road resurfacing program.
“For every tonnes of Plastiphalt placed, the equivalent of 800 plastic bags, 252 glass bottles and 18 used printer toner cartridges will not find their way to landfills,” Mr Steel said.
Three-hundred kilograms of recycled asphalt is also used for every tonne of the material.
The 2018-19 resurfacing program will see approximately 230 lane kilometres, or approximately 1,000,000 square metres of roads resurfaced, across the ACT road network.
“The resealing program is an important part of the maintenance of Canberra’s roads as it covers small cracks and imperfections which could cause potholes and overall deterioration. It protects and extends the life of our roads and improves road safety,” Mr Steel said.
The program of works is expected to be completed by April next year.
Waste Management Review speaks to Dr Alice Howe, Interim Manager Planning and Sustainability at Lake Macquarie City Council, about council’s innovative use of recycled glass, FOGO facility with REMONDIS and its low levels of contamination.
Research by Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology has found a potential new use for flexible plastics and glass fines in the construction of footpaths.
Recycled crushed glass will substitute sand in civil works projects as Lake Macquarie City Council pushes for local solutions to national issues.
The project aims to reuse thousands of tonnes of glass every year, with the potential to reuse 12,000 tonnes collected from across the Hunter region if other councils get involved.
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A plant built on the Central Coast is manufacturing the glass sand for the council’s trial.
The sand has similar applications to normal sand and can be used as a bedding material in drainage projects and other civil works.
Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said glass bottles, jars and other items collected from household recycling bins would be sorted and processed as usual at a materials recovery facility at Gateshead.
“There is a growing need across Australia to find an end use for recycled glass,” Cr Fraser said.
With companies finding it cheaper to import new glass than buy recycled, we need to start coming up with innovative, cost-effective alternatives.
“This collaborative project could help solve a national crisis in our own backyard,” she said.
Manager Planning and Sustainability Alice Howe said more than 5000 tonnes of glass were collected for recycling annually across Lake Macquarie.
“Our strategy is twofold: we are demonstrating the suitability of recycled glass sand for our own civil works program, and have amended our engineering guidelines to specify how this material can be used in development across the city ,” Dr Howe said.
“We aim to gradually increase the amount of recycled glass that is processed into glass sand and used in our own operations. If the rest of the region follows our lead, this initiative could close the loop on thousands of tonnes of glass each year.”
Dr Howe said if the end-use issues for recycled glass aren’t addressed soon, the stockpiles of material will continue to grow.