An Australian business has joined forces with a property developer and a local council to trial an innovative new asphalt, made entirely from recycled materials — including thousands of plastic bags.
Perth-based civil contracting business Densford Civil installed its new asphalt on two streets at a new housing development at Port Coogee, with material supplied by Downer Group.
Cecilia and Skerne Lanes were sealed on Wednesday, 5 June, with 750sqm of the company’s Reconophalt, which was made from 40,000 plastic bags, 900 printer toner cartridges, 210kg of crumb rubber generated from car tyres, as well as seven tonnes of recycled asphalt pavement.
The plastic bags were collected through the REDcycle scheme in place at supermarkets, while the cartridges were obtained from Close the Loop collection points.
Frasers Property Australia, the developer of the waterfront Port Coogee housing development, said in a statement that as well as being environmentally friendlier by recycling materials that would otherwise end up in landfill, the product also has a longer lifespan, with “a 65 per cent improvement in fatigue life compared with standard asphalt”.
“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,” the group’s general manager of residential in WA, Stuart Gardiner, said.
“We look forward to monitoring the trial of this recycled asphalt and how the new surface performs over time.”
Asked if the product could be rolled out at other sites and for other uses by the group, Mr Gardiner said that “if the outcome of the trial goes well, we will certainly look at extended uses across our business in Western Australia, with similar Council support as the City of Cockburn has demonstrated”.
The City of Cockburn, the local council in which the development sits, said the trial is an example of what can be achieved to advance sustainability efforts in public-private partnerships.
“The city is proud to support this trial by Frasers Property and Densford Civil, the first of its kind in WA, and will certainly be looking to continue using Reconophalt in Cockburn in the future,” the council’s education officer, Nicki Ledger, said.
“We believe it is vital to encourage the use of recycled materials wherever possible to stimulate the development of recycling industries here in Australia.”
Mathew Buckley from Densford Civil subsequently confirmed that this is the latest Australian trial for the product, with “over 40 roads” already laid with the recycled material across NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
Mr Buckley said it took between five and six years to develop Reconophalt in partnership with Close the Loop.
“[The] greater than 30 per cent longer life than traditional asphalt used by Local Government [is achieved] due to inclusion of polymers from single-use plastic and waste toner,” he said.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.