Using a mix of nearly 200,000 soft plastics (ranging from plastic bags and packaging), and roughly 63, 000 glass bottles, one Melbourne company is diverting them from landfill with aims to construct a Victorian road, all in an Australian-first trial.
‘Downer’ have partnered with Hume City Council and recycling companies ‘Close the Loop’ and ‘RED Group’ with plans to set a new benchmark in sustainable construction. Sustainability Victoria were also partners in this initiative, supporting Close the Loop and Downer with more than $100,000 to develop special equipment and assist with trial costs.
The road, which will be located in Craigieburn (Melbourne’s North), is set to be constructed from soft plastics and glass, toner from more than 4,500 used printer cartridges, and 50 tonnes of recycled asphalt.
‘The milestone event showed that partnerships with other thought leaders can create economic, social and environmental value for products that would more than likely end up in the landfill, stockpiled, or as a pollutant in our natural environments,’ said Downer’s Executive General Manager Road Services, Dante Cremasco, in a statement.
“Together with our customer Hume City Council and our partners, we have proven that with thought leadership and a determined effort to make a positive difference, we have set a new benchmark in our industry when it comes to sustainability by creating new avenues to recycle and repurpose waste materials into new streams of use. It’s all about pulling the product, not pushing waste,” Mr Cremasco said.
The sustainable, and cost-competitive road has a 65 per cent improvement in fatigue life and a strong resistance to deformation, thus, making the road last in the long run. This also allows the new road to better handle heavy vehicle traffic.
“Sustainability is a key priority for our Council and community. This is just one way we are working in partnership to respond to recycling industry concerns and highlights the importance of residents and businesses recycling materials, particularly soft plastics and glass, properly,” said Hume Mayor Geoff Porter, on behalf of the Council.
Nerida Mortlock, General Manager of Close the Loop Australia, voiced that their partnership with Downer and RED Group allowed meaningful design and manufacture collaboration that provides ‘sustainable outcomes for waste that has meaningful uses’.
“It demonstrates a great step toward a circular system, where soft plastic packaging recovered through the REDcycle Program, and other materials previously destined for a landfill, can be used as a resource for Australian roads,” said Mortlock.