NSW council diverts 210 tonnes of waste with recycled road

Shellharbour City Council in NSW is conducting a trial road resurfacing project that incorporates recycled waste materials into 4600 square metres of asphalt renewal.

Shellharbour City Council Mayor Marianne Saliba said by substituting quarried products for discarded waste materials in the road surface, council is supporting the circular economy transition.

“This initiative supports both council and private industry transition to more sustainable practices, and provides a real demonstration of Shellharbour City Council’s commitment to sustainability and the environment,” she said.

“This one road at Jarrah Way, Albion Park Rail will reuse approximately 210 tonnes of recycled materials that would have otherwise gone to landfill.”

According to Ms Saliva, the asphalt product – Downer’s Reconophalt – contains plastics, glass and other discarded waste materials.

Council will now monitor the road’s performance against comparable roads resurfaced with traditional asphalt to ascertain the long term performance of the recycled pavement product.

“Using recycled materials such as the Reconophalt product supplied by Downer to create new road surfaces is just one of the innovative ways that Shellharbour City Council has actively worked to reduce its environmental footprint,” Ms Saliba said.

Shellharbour City Council was one of the first in Australia to divert food waste from landfill at kerbside, with a FOGO service implemented in 2016.

“Council’s continued commitment to waste innovation through such things as the FOGO system, free recycling opportunities at the Dunmore Waste and Resource Recovery Centre, and the use of recycled asphalt continues to help grow the circular economy for the benefit of future generations and protects our environment,” Ms Saliba said.

Image credit: Shellharbour City Council

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City of Parramatta trials Reconophalt roads

City of Parramatta Council in NSW is trialling two innovative sustainable road solutions aimed at reducing waste materials and combatting heat.

In the first of these trials, Chelmsford Avenue in Epping and Honor Street in Ermington were resurfaced with Reconophalt.

Manufactured by Downer, the product contains recycled soft plastics from plastic bags and packaging, waste glass and waste toner from used printer cartridges.

According to City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Bob Dwyer, single-use plastics and other waste materials are a growing problem for the region.

“Finding new ways to recycle and reuse materials means we can reduce the amount of waste that ultimately enters landfill,” he said.

“By taking tonnes of plastic and glass from local recycling plants and using it to create roads, we are able to turn trash into treasured infrastructure.”

Downer Pavements General Manager Stuart Billing said the equivalent of approximately 500,000 plastic bags, 165,000 glass bottles and 12,500 toner cartridges are diverted from landfill for every one kilometre of a two-lane Reconophalt road.

“Together with the City of Parramatta, we are creating new avenues to recycle and repurpose waste materials into new streams of use, and reducing the community’s reliance upon increasingly scarce virgin materials,” he said.

The project is partially funded through the NSW Planning, Industry and Environment Department’s ‘Waste Less, Recycle More’ initiative.

The second trial, which is being conducted in partnership with Blacktown and Campbelltown councils and Western Sydney University, will examine how lighter coloured roads can help reduce the amount of heat being absorbed and retained by roads on hot days.

“As Western Sydney can be several degrees hotter than suburbs in the east, it is crucial we explore ways we can keep our streets cooler – especially in the summer,” Mayor Dwyer said.

“Parramatta is going through an incredible period of growth and transformation, and council is dedicated to building a sustainable and innovative city that will meet the needs of our community well into the future. These road projects are just two examples of how we are achieving this.”

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Downer opens soft plastics asphalt plant in Lake Macquarie

Plastic bags, recycled glass and printer toner will be used in the construction of new Hunter roads as part of a $5 million overhaul of Downer’s asphalt plant in Teralba, Lake Macquarie.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser officially opened the site this week, with the ability to process thousands of tonnes each year of sustainable road and pavement materials for the Hunter Region and Central Coast.

The facility is one of the most advanced of its kind in Australia, capable of producing a wide range of products including asphalt containing recycled tyre rubber and Reconophalt, an innovative asphalt product that contains high recycled content from materials such as soft plastics, glass, toner and reclaimed road.

The soft plastics are collected through the RedCycle program, which has collection bins in Coles and Woolworths supermarkets, while waste toner used in the product comes from the national Planet Ark recycling initiative.

Every kilometre of two-lane road made with Reconophalt contains the equivalent of 530,000 plastic bags, 168,000 glass bottles and 12,500 toner cartridges.

Cr Fraser said today’s opening, which coincides with World Environment Day, bolstered Lake Macquarie’s reputation for encouraging and embracing sustainable businesses and practices.

“I congratulate Downer on investing in new methods to close the loop on recycled materials,” Cr Fraser said.

“In the past 12 months in Lake Mac, we’ve seen the introduction of recycled glass sand in Council’s civil works, a trial of recycled materials in concrete footpaths and now this next step in our war on waste.”

Downer’s Executive General Manager Road Services, Dante Cremasco, said the milestone event held on World Environment Day demonstrates the importance of partnerships with councils and road authorities to maximise sustainable outcomes for the future growth of the region.

“The innovation our new Teralba asphalt plant brings will see us not only lower our carbon footprint, but also incorporate new streams of recycled materials into the asphalt we lay, further improving sustainable outcomes for the region’s local communities and their roads,” Mr Cremasco said.

“Downer’s investment in this flexible pavement products manufacturing hub allows us to reduce our reliance on increasingly scarce virgin materials by over 30 per cent and improve our energy consumption by up to 15 per cent, which are really pleasing outcomes for the region.”

Testing of the new Reconophalt material showed it lasted longer and was less prone to deformation than traditional forms of asphalt.

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