Waste Management In Action

Supporting glass

Supporting glass

Australasian resource recovery company ResourceCo is playing its part in driving home solutions to the recycling and re-use of glass waste as a road base.

Earlier this year, Australia introduced a ban on the export of unprocessed waste glass, increasing the urgency for domestic-led solutions.

While about 56 per cent of Australia’s glass packaging is successfully recovered for recycling, co-mingled glass from household or commercial sites has always presented a challenge. 

In the past, the poor quality of this waste glass, and the relatively low price received for this material, has been an issue in kerbside collection, recycling, sorting, and sale.

Now companies such as ResourceCo are investing in leading-edge technology, capable of processing both ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ glass waste streams. 

With joint support from the South Australian and Federal Government under the Recycling Modernisation Fund, ResourceCo will begin construction of a new plant north of Adelaide later this year. The plant will enable the separation of co-mingled glass into clean, singular waste streams for repurposing.

As ResourceCo CEO Jim Fairweather explains, the investment will support the emerging circular economy throughout the industry.

“This investment in new infrastructure could ultimately see tens of thousands of tonnes of waste glass repurposed into construction materials each year,” he says.

“It will be the state’s first designated glass crushing and resizing plant, capable of repurposing 30,000 tonnes per annum of glass previously destined for landfill.”

Work is due to begin on the new plant in the coming months, which will facilitate the use of processed glass ‘fines’ (typically between 3mm and 8mm) as a substitute for sand in the base of roads and footpaths.

ResourceCo recently completed a trial with the South Australian Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) on the Regency to Pym construction project (R2P) using glass as a fine aggregate replacement.

“We successfully placed 170 tonnes of Class 2 pavement material with five per cent glass as a virgin aggregate replacement in what was a first for South Australia. The trial alone equated to 8.5 tonnes of glass repurposed and diverted from landfill,” Jim says.

“It was a significant initiative in paving the way for the use of more recycled materials in South Australian roads.”

ResourceCo is in advanced discussions with many of South Australia’s material recovery facilities to take their glass waste and continues to work with DIT on specifications for use of glass in their road base on major projects.

“We are investing a significant amount of time and resources to work closely with our partners to achieve the best results – both economically and environmentally. It’s about backing leadership in sustainability and building progressive and environmentally conscious partnerships,” Jim says.

“Ultimately, there is huge opportunity for governments, the construction industry, and the recycling sector, to play a big role in setting new benchmarks in repurposing and recycling waste materials into quality products.”

For more information, visit resourceco.com.au

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