Hunter region gets green underfoot

Thursday, 14 March, 2019


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Crushed glass sand and recycled plastic strips have been used in a footpath construction project in the Hunter region, trialling environmentally sustainable materials. Lake Macquarie City Council crews poured the ‘greencrete’ along a 30 m stretch of footpath on Steel Street, Redhead, with plans to monitor its performance and condition over the coming months.

The council’s trial of crushed glass sand in civil works projects kicked off in June 2018, with tonnes of the material used in underground drainage pits. Council Manager of Asset Management Helen Plummer said the use of greencrete in the Redhead works was a Hunter first. She explained that 50% of the fine aggregate used in greencrete was crushed glass sand rather than natural sand, with the mix also containing thin polypropylene strips made from 100% recycled plastic to help reinforce the material and replace the steel mesh traditionally used in concrete.

“These Australian-made materials close the loop on recycling, providing a practical end use for glass and plastic collected from kerbside recycling bins,” Plummer said. “Greencrete supplier Redicrete conducted extensive testing on the concrete prior to it being poured and it is a case of so far so good. But we will continue to monitor the footpath in coming months to see how it holds up to everyday wear and tear, and whether it cracks or wears differently to normal concrete.”

More than 5000 tonnes of glass is collected from Lake Macquarie homes for recycling every year. A portion of this is sent to a processing plant on the Central Coast, where the glass is washed and crushed into a fine, smooth substance similar in appearance and performance to natural sand.

“Council is committed to exploring new and innovative ways to create a more livable, sustainable and environmentally friendly city,” Plummer said.

The footpath construction project is part of council’s asset management program, which identified more than 700 m of new footpath to be installed in Redhead in the 2018–19 financial year.

Image courtesy of Lake Macquarie City Council

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