Tasmanian road built with plastic bags and glass

Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Tasmanian road built with plastic bags and glass

The small coastal town of Snug, Tasmania, has become the home of the first road in the state to be built with soft plastics and glass — a milestone that has seen approximately 173,600 plastic bags and 82,500 glass bottles diverted from landfill.

Kingborough Council and Downer partnered with resource recovery and recycling companies Close the Loop and RED Group on the construction of the road along Charlton Street, which utilised Close the Loop’s TonerPlas asphalt additive. Along with soft plastics and glass, toner from approximately 5900 used printer cartridges and more than 33 tonnes of recycled asphalt were also repurposed for the build.

“Council is thrilled to be leading the way in diverting products from landfill and using them in a sustainable and innovative way,” said Kingborough Mayor Dean Winter. “Our staff continue to demonstrate leadership and creativity in how we can reduce our environmental footprint.”

Councillor Richard Atkinson, a strong advocate for recycling and re-use solutions, added, “It is encouraging to see Council develop partnerships with progressive organisations. This demonstrates Kingborough Council’s commitment to waste minimisation and finding environmentally responsible solutions for our waste.”

Downer’s General Manager Pavements, Stuart Billing, said the milestone demonstrates the importance of partnerships with other thought leaders to create economic, social and environmental value for products that would more than likely end up in landfill, stockpiled or as a pollutant in our natural environments.

“We have set a new benchmark in the state when it comes to sustainability by creating new avenues to recycle and repurpose waste materials into new streams of use,” Billing said. “It’s all about pulling products, not pushing waste.

“Further to the direct sustainability benefits, this cost-competitive road product, called Reconophalt, has enhanced properties of improved strength and resistance to deformation, making the road last longer and allowing it to better handle heavy vehicle traffic.”

Downer partnered closely with Close the Loop to innovatively tailor waste products such as soft plastics to suit a road construction application. Nerida Mortlock, General Manager of Close the Loop, said this close partnership “allowed us to design, develop and manufacture sustainable products using problematic waste streams”.

Close the Loop last month unveiled an upgraded manufacturing facility to produce TonerPlas, which contains the equivalent of 530,000 recycled plastic bags, toner from more than 12,000 recycled cartridges and 168,000 glass bottles in every kilometre of two-lane road. In addition to the Tasmanian initiative, roads featuring TonerPlas have already been laid in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide earlier this year.

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