Downer builds first South Australian road with soft plastics, glass


Australian company Downer Group and South Australia’s City of Onkaparinga have partnered with resource recovery and recycling companies Close the Loop and RED Group for the construction of the first South Australian road built with soft plastics and glass.

Plastic from approximately 139,000 plastic bags and packaging and 39,750 glass bottle equivalents will be diverted from landfill for the project.

Toner from nearly 3,200 used printer cartridges and more than 50 tonnes of recycled asphalt have also been repurposed to create 265 tonnes of asphalt for the Caribbean Crescent in Happy Valley, South Australia.

Downer executive general manager of road services Dante Cremasco said that the event demonstrated the importance of partnerships with other thought leaders to create economic, social and environmental value for products that would end up in landfill, stockpiled, or as a pollutant in natural environments.

Cremasco said: “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.

“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.”

Downer worked with Close the Loop to tailor waste products such as soft plastics to suit a road construction application.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson said: “The City of Onkaparinga manages and maintains over 1,350km 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.

“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.”

Close the Loop Australia general manager Nerida Mortlock said: “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.”


Image: Downer builds first South Australian road with soft plastics, glass. Photo: Courtesy of Downer Group.

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