Canberra roads to be paved with recycled plastic as Government trials new type of asphalt

Lachlan Roberts 5 March 2019 50

The ACT Government is trialling a new material on sections of Horse Park Drive and Gundaroo Drive called Plastiphalt. Photos: George Tsotsos.

Canberrans may soon be driving their cars on plastic bags, glass bottles and toner cartridges as the ACT Government trials a new type of asphalt made from an array of recycled materials.

The new asphalt product will use a mixture of recycled materials including soft plastics, used printer toner cartridges, crushed glasses and reclaimed asphalt materials, as it starts to pave the way towards a more sustainable ACT.

As part of the Government’s $16 million resurfacing program announced last October, ACT Minister for Roads Chris Steel said every tonne of the innovative asphalt product will contain around 800 plastic bags, 300 glass bottles, 18 used printer toner cartridges and 250 kilograms of reclaimed asphalt.

The recycled plastic has been sourced through the ACT Container Deposit Scheme, glass from the ACT’s kerbside yellow bin recycling system, and reclaimed asphalt from local roads.

The first trial is being conducted on a Gungahlin roundabout on Gundaroo Drive and another site in Casey, which will require about 1,000 tonnes of asphalt which include 80o,000 plastic bags and 300,000 glass bottles.

“If we are going to build a circular economy in Australia, then all governments have to act to establish markets for the re-use of materials like single-use plastic and glass for use in Government and private projects,” Mr Steel said.

The works are part of the Government’s $16 million resurfacing program announced last October.

“Roads are a great place to start and the ACT Government is looking at how we can require the use of ‘waste’ resources in procurement for roads across the ACT.

“This method of recycling has an economic benefit, as we don’t need to purchase as many new aggregates, but it is also better for the environment as it reuses existing materials that might otherwise end up in landfill.”

Mr Steel said the particular roundabout in Gunghalin was the perfect place to kickstart the trial due to being a heavy traffic area, which will test the pressure of the road surface.

“The new asphalt is designed to be stronger and more resistant to deformation. This will make it last longer, and allow it to better handle heavy vehicle traffic,” he said.

The new asphalt is designed to be stronger and more resistant to deformation

The new asphalt is designed to be stronger and more resistant to deformation.

“Along with the environmental benefits of removing these products from the waste stream and the reduced cost, this new asphalt product is also used to create a safe and long lasting road surface.”

These works will require temporary road closures, which occurred during the day today (5 March) and will continue tomorrow (6 March). Closures will take place from 9 am to 4 pm tomorrow as follows:

  • Gundaroo Drive will be closed in both directions from Horse Park Drive to approximately 30 metres west of the Hollingsworth Street/Pallin Street intersection.
  • Pallin Street will be closed in both directions from Swain Street to Gundaroo Drive.
  • Hollingsworth Street will be closed in both directions from John Winter Street to Gundaroo Drive.

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50 Responses to Canberra roads to be paved with recycled plastic as Government trials new type of asphalt
Kiriel Kiriel 11:35 am 07 Mar 19

I can’t wait to see it in action. I too am a little concerned about the possible microplastics coming from the road into the environment as the plastic (however slowly) breaks down.

    Maelinar Maelinar 12:40 pm 07 Mar 19

    Plastics and Asphalt are the same product (complex hydrocarbons), although they do originate from different parts of the fuel refining process (Asphalt is basically the slag thats left at the end once they have removed everything else they can extract and plastics are the non-fuel but still usable byproduct). I doubt they will have any significant effect over the other when they break down because they have the same elemental composition.

Woody Brenden Woody Brenden 10:00 pm 06 Mar 19

Love some recycling! Have to admit the first thing I thought is “I wonder what’s it’s like to skateboard on 🤔”

Jude Burger Jude Burger 8:34 pm 06 Mar 19

Yes, some parts of India have had this for several years, and the roads have needed much less maintenance than the tar roads.

Gürkan Yeniçeri Gürkan Yeniçeri 8:03 pm 06 Mar 19

Glass holds the heat. It will be a good business for tire places.

Bek Clark Bek Clark 9:52 am 06 Mar 19

I wonder if they’ll be shiny and make the lane markings invisible in the wet too?

Dory Johns Dory Johns 9:17 am 06 Mar 19

Hmm. Wonder if it will be any better than the stuff they put down in my road. Two years later there are still patches that are gooey

Chris Quinn Chris Quinn 8:21 am 06 Mar 19

Crushed glasses? I hope they removed the frames

Jordana Martin Jordana Martin 6:44 am 06 Mar 19

Great news! Given how quickly our roads fall apart if it is, as touted, 60% stronger and lasting 10 times longer then we should be seeing less roadwork in the long term 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

Carrie Taylor Carrie Taylor 4:42 am 06 Mar 19

Well bring it on because the roads we have now in Canberra are full of potholes and cracks.....I can't afford to get new tyres every six months! Just hope that the next downpour we get the roads don't float away down the drain....

Anna Spear Anna Spear 2:23 am 06 Mar 19


Hulahoopin Huong Hulahoopin Huong 11:47 pm 05 Mar 19

"rolling out" 😄Alan Blake love me a pun

Kay Makin Kay Makin 10:57 pm 05 Mar 19

Adelaide is ahead of you in this

Joseph Vile Joseph Vile 10:51 pm 05 Mar 19

Rob Lee thoughts ?

russianafroman russianafroman 10:31 pm 05 Mar 19

To put it simply it’s just cheaper for the government.

Stan Vizovitis Stan Vizovitis 10:21 pm 05 Mar 19

What not with gold ?....certainly have paid for it as if 😲

    Jezza Nator Jezza Nator 11:35 am 07 Mar 19

    Stan Vizovitis

    With that kind of attitude you won’t get to ride the tram.

    Stan Vizovitis Stan Vizovitis 6:48 pm 07 Mar 19

    Oh no.....hang on it doesn't cross the bridge

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:15 pm 05 Mar 19

I wonder about micro plastic, as the road surface breaks down.

Vickie O'Malley Vickie O'Malley 9:38 pm 05 Mar 19

Our road has recently been resealed. I wish they had left it as is. It was noisy before and now 10 times worse.

Laiza Jane Laiza Jane 9:08 pm 05 Mar 19

Rob this will be a slippery road to take 🤓

Roger Mungummary Roger Mungummary 9:05 pm 05 Mar 19

First successfully tried in India. It replaced the tar part binding the agragate

Corey Karl Corey Karl 8:55 pm 05 Mar 19

What a fantastic idea !!!

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