Author: Liam Taylor
Is Australia’s waste crisis driving you mad? Why not drive on a road to the future?
‘Plastiphalt’ is a new material containing recycled glass, used printer cartridge toner, recycled asphalt and soft plastics collected from supermarkets. Last week the first trial of the road surface in NSW was installed along the Old Princes Highway at Engadine in Sutherland Shire.
The 250-metre long section contains 176,000 plastic bags, 55,440 glass bottles and toner from 3960 used printer cartridges mixed with recycled asphalt from older roads. The printer cartridge toner is sourced from cartridges recycled through the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program.
The surface not only tackles Australia’s waste crisis, but also performs better and lasts longer than standard asphalt. Even better, the surface can be removed, processed and recycled into new roads at its end of life.
Following China’s crackdown on imported waste with the China Sword policy, innovative solutions to Australia’s waste crisis are in demand. Pete Shmigel, CEO of the Australian Council of Recycling, was effusive in his praise for the Plastiphalt road surface.
“Plastiphalt is a positive example of what can be done in response to the China threat because it gives us a stronger domestic market demand for the plastics that consumers and industry collect and sort here,” he said.
The technology is a collaboration between Australian companies Downer Engineering, Close the Loop and RED Group. Sutherland Shire is the second council to trial the new form of asphalt following Hume City Council, which was the first to install the surface in Melbourne’s outer north-west earlier this year.
With only limited field testing to date, only time will tell if Plastiphalt is a feasible alternative to traditional asphalt moving forward. If these recent trials are successful, Australia could see more plastic roads rolled out in the near future.
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.
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