Green means go for $5m plant recycling plastic for roads

Date posted: 5 June 2019

Plastic bags, recycled glass and printer toner will be used in the construction of new Hunter roads thanks to a cutting-edge facility operating in Lake Macquarie.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser hit the button today to officially open the $5 million overhaul of Downer’s asphalt plant in Teralba, allowing it to produce thousands of tonnes each year of sustainable road and pavement materials for the Hunter Region and Central Coast.

One of the key products to be manufactured at the site will be Reconophalt, a road-base alternative that uses processed soft plastics such as shopping bags and chip wrappers to act as a ‘glue’ that bonds and waterproof roads.

The soft plastics are collected through two programs that include the RedCycle program, which has collection bins in Coles and Woolworths supermarkets, and by the Plastic Police program through local drop off points. The waste toner used in the product comes from the national Planet Ark recycling initiative.

Every kilometre of two-lane road made with Reconophalt contains the equivalent of 530,000 plastic bags, 168,000 glass bottles and 12,500 toner cartridges.

Cr Fraser said today’s opening, which coincides with World Environment Day, bolstered Lake Macquarie’s reputation for encouraging and embracing sustainable businesses and practices.

“I congratulate Downer on investing in new methods to close the loop on recycled materials,” Cr Fraser said.

“In the past 12 months in Lake Mac, we’ve seen the introduction of recycled glass sand in Council’s civil works, a trial of recycled materials in concrete footpaths and now this next step in our war on waste.”

Downer Executive General Manager Road Services Dante Cremasco said the use of recycled materials reduced the requirement for ‘virgin’ alternatives by one-third.

Testing of the new Reconophalt material showed it lasted longer and was less prone to deformation than traditional forms of asphalt.

Article by Lake Macquarie City Council

Page last updated: 5 June 2019