Lake Macquarie in NSW is to be host to a new sustainable asphalt plant to be run by Downer Group. The $8 million plant was given the green light last month by Lake Macquarie City Council. It will replace the company’s existing plant at Teralba, and will be capable of incorporating recycled materials into the asphalt it produces.
Annual production is expected to be up to 160,000 tonnes, incorporating waste materials such as soft plastics from plastic bags and packaging, glass and toner from used print cartridges.
The move follows the successful trial of the sustainable asphalt on a road at Craigieburn in Melbourne’s north. For that project, soft plastics, glass, toner from more than 4500 used printer cartridges and 50 tonnes of recycled asphalt were all repurposed to create 250 tonnes of asphalt for the road.
Because asphalt is a “hot-mix” material, it has to be produced locally to the point of use, and so the output from the new plant will be used in the Lake Macquarie area.
“It’s exciting to know we will be one of the first places in NSW to produce this new, sustainable asphalt, using materials that would once have been considered waste,” says Dr Alice Howe, Sustainability Manager for Lake Macquarie City Council.
According to Downer General Manager Pavements, Stuart Billing, the new plant will use “significant quantities” of recycled materials.
“The new facility will be able to manufacture innovative and sustainable asphalt products released through our extensive research and development programme,” he says.
“This includes a better-performing asphalt product that repurposes soft plastics and toner from used print cartridges.
“This product has improved fatigue life and a superior resistance to deformation, making the road last longer and allowing it to better handle heavy vehicles.”
Commissioning of the new Teralba plant early next year will bolster Lake Macquarie’s reputation as a hotspot for pioneering new and innovative ways to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle waste.
“Earlier this year, Council started using recycled glass ‘sand’ in civil works projects, potentially closing the loop on thousands of tonnes glass waste placed in household recycling bins each year,” says Dr Howe.
“And our adoption in July of a revamped three-bin service, where all food waste is placed in the green bin and converted into compost, has already diverted more than 1000 tonnes of organics from landfill.”