In the Perth suburb of Willetton, Boral is using waste tyres, plastic, glass and old road pavement originally bound for landfill to construct new roads. This is the first time the company has used four recycled waste products in an asphalt mix.
The shredded tyres are turned into small pellets, glass is crushed to the dimension of sand particles, plastic bottles are converted into flakes the size of fish food and asphalt is recycled into aggregates. The recycled materials are then combined with crushed rock and bitumen to create the sustainable roadbase.
The project will make use of 58,000 600ml plastic water bottles, 316 tyres from 79 passenger cars and 37,500 glass beer stubbies.
“The transition to offering sustainable products within our suite of asphalt mixes presents both a significant opportunity and responsibility for Boral and our customers,” Boral’s Western Australia regional general manager John Ralph said. “We are using sustainable materials in asphalt road construction in a way that respects the environment and supports a circular economy approach.
“We want to be part of the solution to reducing landfill waste and aim to make a real difference by promoting sustainable practices. We are contributing to a positive environmental impact, landfill avoidance and re-use of materials through our asphalt pavement operations.”
The partnership between Boral Asphalt’s Welshpool facility and the City of Canning was borne out of the council’s commitment to approach issues of sustainability in a more innovative fashion.
“We are consistently asking our ratepayers to be more sustainable in their thinking and their behaviour and this partnership reinforces that the City is leading by example,” City of Canning mayor Paul Ng said. “Single-use plastics are one of the biggest items going to landfill – it’s astounding that 58,000 water bottles can be used in a positive way to help create a road that will last more than 30 years, and the City is very proud to be part of that.”
Port Coogee recycled asphalt trial
Meanwhile, the City of Cockburn, in partnership with real estate agency Frasers Property, has also paved 750m² of road in the waterfront community of Port Coogee, southwest of the Perth CBD, with a recycled product known as Reconophalt.
Reconophalt comprises a variety of recycled waste materials, including recycled plastic bags, waste toner from printer cartridges, crumb rubber from car tyres, and recycled asphalt pavement. Densford Civil poured the Reconophalt, while the Downer Group supplied the materials.
Reconophalt potentially lasts longer than standard asphalt – it has a 65 per cent greater fatigue life.
“We believe it is vital to encourage the use of recycled materials wherever possible, to stimulate the development of recycling industries here in Australia,” the City of Cockburn’s waste education officer Nicki Ledger said.
Stuart Gardiner, Frasers Property’s general manager for residential WA, said this kind of innovation could help generate positive waste minimisation implications for the company’s broader portfolio.
“This progressive environmental solution in the waterfront community at Port Coogee demonstrates the importance of sustainable partnerships to create economic, social and environmental value for materials that would more than likely end up in landfill, or as pollutants in our natural environments,” Gardiner said. “We look forward to monitoring the trial of this recycled asphalt and how the new surface performs over time.”
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Alternative materials for rural road construction
Rolling towards new roadbase