A combination of glass bottles, plastic bags and used printer cartridges has been combined with reclaimed asphalt to make up a new kind of road surface that was laid in Gungahlin on Tuesday as part of an ACT trial.
About 1000 tonnes of the material would be laid between at two sites in Canberra’s north, with each tonne containing 800 plastic bags, 300 glass bottles, 18 used printer cartridges and 250 kilograms of reclaimed asphalt.
Work started on Tuesday to lay the material at a roundabout on Gundaroo Drive, with another site in Casey the next location for the trial.
Roads minister Chris Steel said the use of recycled materials in road surfaces had economic and environmental benefits.
“The reclaimed asphalt has been sourced from local roads, glass from the ACT’s kerbside recycling system, and some of the soft plastic through the ACT container deposit scheme,” he said.
Mr Steel said the new asphalt would create long lasting road surfaces suited to heavy traffic, including at the roundabout on Gundaroo Drive between Pallin Street and Hollingsworth Street where the first of the asphalt was laid.
Executive general manager of road services at Downer, which laid the asphalt, Dante Cremasco said the company was committed to innovation and was always trying to use fewer new materials in its products.
“It is ultimately just asphalt,” he said.
“Ultimately a lot of the things that we’re putting in there is just a different way to get the same [road surface] specification.”
Mr Cremasco said that Australia needed to find an outlet for used glass and incorporating it into road surfaces was a good option.
The project is a partnership between ACT Roads, Downer, Australian recycling company Close the Loop and Redcycle, which collects returned plastic bags from supermarkets.
Close the Loop general manager Nerida Mortlock said the product demonstrated the benefit of the circular economy.
The circular economy prioritises reusing material and designing products with future recycling in mind to minimise waste over the lifetime of a material.
Mr Steel said governments needed to create a market for re-using materials in government and private projects to build an Australian circular economy.
Since 2016, the ACT government has used similar recycled surfaces in small trials, including asphalt incorporating powder made from printer cartridges and recycled car tyres.