The Old Princes Highway in Engadine is the site for the first section of road in NSW to be resurfaced with asphalt that includes recycled plastic bags and glass bottles.
About 176,000 plastic bags and packaging, 55,000 glass bottle equivalents, 4000 used printer cartridges and more than 60 tonnes of recycled asphalt will go into the mix.
About 220 tonnes of asphalt will be laid on Old Princes Highway between Cooper Street and Engadine Road.
Using recycled plastic and glass in asphalt to create new road surfaces is just one of the innovative ways council can reduce its environmental footprint through the use of recyclable material.
Sutherland Shire Council and Downer has partnered with resource recovery and recycling companies Close the Loop, RED Group and Plastic Police for the project.
It is co-funded by the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, through the waste levy.
A demonstration, attended by official guests, took place on Friday.
Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the project demonstrated how committed organisations could find innovative solutions to waste reduction.
“The NSW Government has a comprehensive funding program designed to find more ways to make sure waste is taken out of landfill and put to good use,” she said.
“In particular, the Product Improvement Co-investment program and the Circulate program together provide $10 million in funding to help find creative ways to reduce the amount of waste and find better uses than simply throwing it away.”
Mayor Carmelo Pesce said the council was committed to showing leadership in sustainability and the use of recycled products.
“Sutherland Shire Council collects over 25 thousand tonnes of recycling in the yellow top bins every year,” he said.
“Using recycled plastic and glass in asphalt to create new road surfaces is just one of the innovative ways council can reduce its environmental footprint through the use of recyclable material.”
Downer general manager pavements Stuart Billing said the product, called Plastiphalt, had a 65 per cent improvement in fatigue life and a superior resistance to deformation.
‘Time will tell if product is successful’
A 250-metre section of road with medium traffic volumes was chosen for the trial, which Sutherland Shire Council will undertake in partnership with the state government.
It is proposed a similar length section of standard asphalt be laid to compare the results under the same traffic conditions.
As this is new product there is a risk the road pavement may fail sooner than standard asphalt and need to be replaced.
A council staff report said the project was an opportunity to provide “the first site in NSW to demonstrate the economic, social and environmental value of recycling products that would likely end up in landfill, stockpiled, or as a pollutant in the natural environment”.
However, “risks associated with the trial cannot be fully dismissed due to the asphalt being a newly developed product with only laboratory and limited field testing site,” the report said.
“Only time will determine if the product is successful.”
The product called Plastiphalt was developed by Downer Industries in partnership with the Hume Council in Victoria, Vic Roads, Close the Loop, Red Group and the Victorian Environment Protection Authority.
It uses a combination of soft plastics, glass and toner cartridges and is claimed to provide improved performance for fatigue and deformation over standard asphaltic concrete.
The report said every kilometre of road paved with Plastiphalt used about:
- 530,000 plastic bag and packaging equivalents.
- 16,800 glass bottles.
- Toner from 12,500 used toner cartridges.
- 134 tonnes reclaimed asphalt profiling (recycled pavement materials containing asphalt and aggregates).
The report said the first trial with Hume Council took place in Melbourne in May this year.
Hume Council’s asset manager David Fricke had advised there had been no issues with the new pavement since it was laid.
The report said the cost of laying the product was about two per cent higher than standard asphalt.
“There will be no noticeable difference in the look or the vehicular ride over standard asphaltic concrete as the glass is coarse sand (4mm minus) replacement and the plastic and toner are polymer additives that enhance the durability and performance of the product,” the report said.
“Polymer modified asphalts have been in use for over 20 years in Sydney.
“As this is new product there is a risk the road pavement may fail sooner than standard asphalt and need to be replaced.
“Laboratory tests indicate the new asphalt will increase pavement life by 15 per cent, sustain increased traffic count volumes of 20 per cent while reducing the pavement thickness by 10 per cent..
“Sutherland Council will request Downer to provide a three year defect liability period which is a standard clause in all council asphalt laying contracts.”