By Richard Silcock.
Last year, Downer celebrated two years of using reconophalt, a sustainable asphalt product made from plastic bags, packaging and glass receptacles, for road paving. Back in May 2018 the first road paving using a newly invented paving product called reconophalt was laid in Craigieburn, Victoria by Downer.
Over 100,000 tonnes of reconophalt has now been used in road paving projects in six states across Australia by Downer, with road authorities and local councils very keen to trial it as it not only provides a cost effective and economic solution to future road construction, but also provides a solution for helping to minimise plastics, glass and tyres going to landfill or being stockpiled.
Last year, Downer reported it has used over 46 million plastic bags, 1.3 million toner cartridges, 11.5 million glass bottles and 20,500 tonnes of recycled asphalt in the manufacture of reconophalt.
For one kilometre of a two-lane road paved with reconophalt 101,000 glass bottles, 597 plastic bags, 17,400 printer cartridges and 203 tonnes of recycled asphalt is used, making it a viable solution for relieving the amount of waste going to a landfill, while at the same time providing an alternative and sustainable road paving material with a good life expectancy.
To date, reconophalt has not been trialled or used in New Zealand and Downer (NZ) national paving manager Dan Easterby says this is due to the product not being produced here and that the costs of importing and shipping it from Australia outweigh the costs saved.