Tasmania unveils first sustainable road built with soft plastics

Plastic from approximately 173,600 plastic bags and packaging, and 82,500 glass bottle equivalents have been diverted from landfill to create the first Tasmanian road made from recycled materials.

Located in Snug, Kingborough Council and Downer 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 5900 used printer cartridges and more than 33t of recycled asphalt were also repurposed to create 330t of asphalt used to construct the road along Charlton Street in Snug.

“Council is thrilled to be leading the way in diverting products from landfill and using them in a sustainable and innovative way,” Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter, said.

“Our staff continue to demonstrate leadership and creativity in how we can reduce our environmental footprint.”

Councillor Richard Atkinson is a strong advocate for recycling and re-use solutions.

“It is encouraging to see council develop partnerships with progressive organisations,” he said.

“This demonstrates Kingborough Council’s commitment to waste minimisation and finding environmentally responsible solutions for our waste.”

Downer’s General Manager Pavements, Stuart Billing, 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 Kingborough Council 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 Billing 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,” he said.

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

Nerida Mortlock, General Manager of Close the Loop Australia, 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 Tasmanian road.”

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