SA council reinforces concrete with recycled plastic

Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

SA council reinforces concrete with recycled plastic

Charles Sturt Council has been using recycled plastic fibres known as Emesh for a number of new footpath and community upgrades, rather than the traditional resource-heavy steel mesh reinforcement.

The council discovered Emesh through Daniel Romano, Business Development Manager at Hi Mix Concrete and son of the company’s founder, Tony. Romano revealed, “I found Emesh by searching for an environmentally better solution for ready-mix concretes. Emesh just made sense and had so many other benefits with cost, safety and ease of construction.”

Queensland engineering firm Fibercon developed Emesh technology in conjunction with researchers from James Cook University in 2015. It is made from 100% recycled polypropylene — the second most widely used plastic in the world and one of only three types of plastic which floats, thus contributing to the burgeoning ocean gyres.

By using Emesh to reinforce concrete instead of steel mesh, 70 tonnes of plastic waste has already been recycled by councils on the eastern seaboard. This is in addition to saving 1750 tonnes of CO2 emissions, 32,670 m3 of water and 350 tonnes of fossil fuels.

“When Adelaide-based construction firm Nova Group came to us to supply concrete for a number of Charles Sturt Council projects, I recommended Emesh instead of the traditional steel reinforcement,” Romano said.

To date, Emesh has been used in the $26.5m St Clair Recreation project; the Adelaide Parklands Upgrade, linking the CBD to key inner city suburbs; the Port Road Drainage Project; and a number of reserve upgrades throughout the Charles Sturt Council area.

Image caption: Recycled fibres in concrete.

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