First South Australian road built with plastic bags and glass
The first South Australian (SA) road built with soft plastics and glass at Happy Valley in the City of Onkaparinga has seen plastic from approximately 139,000 plastic bags and packaging and 39,750 glass bottle equivalents diverted from landfill.
Downer and City of Onkaparinga have partnered with resource recovery and recycling companies, Close the Loop and RED Group, to set this new benchmark in sustainability.
Along with soft plastics and glass, toner from approximately 3200 used printer cartridges and more than 50 tonnes of recycled asphalt were also repurposed to create 265 tonnes of asphalt used to construct the road along Caribbean Crescent in Happy Valley.
Downer’s Executive General Manager Road Services, Dante Cremasco, said the milestone event demonstrated 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.
“Together with City of Onkaparinga and our partners, we have proven that with thought leadership and the tenacity to make a positive difference, 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. It’s all about pulling products, not pushing waste,” Mr Cremasco said.
“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,” Mr Cremasco added.
City of Onkaparinga, Mayor Erin Thompson, said this is an exciting South Australian first and demonstrates council’s commitment to working with industry on innovative and cost-effective solutions to a changing operating environment.
“The City of Onkaparinga manages and maintains over 1350km of sealed roads and works hard to ensure they’re well maintained as cost effectively as possible and in line with leading asset management principles,” Mayor Thompson said.
“We also collect approximately 14,000 tonnes of recyclables every year. Major disruptions in international markets for recyclables over the last 12 months present significant challenges, as well as emerging opportunities.”
“Creating local demand for recyclables products is one such opportunity and this is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by government working with industry.”
Downer partnered closely with Close the Loop to innovatively tailor waste products such as soft plastics to suit a road construction application.
“Our close partnership with Downer, along with our collaborative partnership with RED Group has allowed us to design, develop and manufacture sustainable products using problematic waste streams. We are very pleased to see soft plastics used for the first time in a SA road,” said Nerida Mortlock, General Manager of Close the Loop Australia.