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

Lachlan Roberts 5 March 2019 56

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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56 Responses to Canberra roads to be paved with recycled plastic as Government trials new type of asphalt
Deref Deref 3:42 pm 05 Mar 19

Fantastic idea! Now if only they’d rake up the gravel too!

scoot scoot 4:37 pm 05 Mar 19

I’m sure runoff from all that degraded plastic will do wonders for the surrounding plant and animal life!

Peter Drady Dradrach Peter Drady Dradrach 7:07 pm 05 Mar 19

can this handle high temps?

Garvin Francis Garvin Francis 7:11 pm 05 Mar 19

Surely someone will have a negative comment to say about this

    Craig Nash Craig Nash 7:16 pm 05 Mar 19

    Garvin I’ll have a go...

    Surely that recycled plastic can be put to better use.

    Roberta Lynne Anning Roberta Lynne Anning 7:18 pm 05 Mar 19

    Garvin Francis challenge accepted. It will still take 2 years to put down 2 kilometers, and will cost twice as much as a normal road surface.

    Chris Thompson Chris Thompson 7:23 pm 05 Mar 19

    Garvin Francis where will they get all the ‘crushed glasses’? Will they take my scratched up Oakleys? I haven’t wanted to part with them since January 1991 but may feel ok about it if they’re put to good use.

    Faraaz Skiskis Faraaz Skiskis 7:57 pm 05 Mar 19

    what happens when it starts to get too hot and the plastic burns and we breath it in

    Garvin Francis Garvin Francis 8:52 pm 05 Mar 19

    Craig Nash how?

    Garvin Francis Garvin Francis 8:53 pm 05 Mar 19

    Faraaz Skiskis because when asphelt gets hot in summer now it smells great

    Faraaz Skiskis Faraaz Skiskis 10:01 pm 05 Mar 19

    I think burning plastic causes cancer when you breath it

Erc Shmirk Erc Shmirk 7:32 pm 05 Mar 19

Will the cycle lanes be luminous?

Levi Harris Levi Harris 7:43 pm 05 Mar 19

How's it skid but? 😂

Faraaz Skiskis Faraaz Skiskis 7:50 pm 05 Mar 19

let the cancer set us free from our bodily chains

Ally Halton Ally Halton 7:54 pm 05 Mar 19

One man's trash is another man's road....

Matt Baker Matt Baker 7:55 pm 05 Mar 19

New Zealand have been doing it for years

Smita Patel Smita Patel 7:58 pm 05 Mar 19

Hopefully it won’t end up like the original recycle green shopping bags which eventually deteriorate over time

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:23 am 06 Mar 19

    And break done into micro plastic. Get washed off the roads by rain, end up in streams and flow into the ocean, where it will add to the existing micro plastic problem.

    Ben Foley Ben Foley 8:34 am 07 Mar 19

    ... That's the point of them.

    Smita Patel Smita Patel 8:55 am 07 Mar 19

    Ben Foley do we really want the roads to go the same way?

Olivia Wenholz Olivia Wenholz 8:07 pm 05 Mar 19

this is soooo cool. well done ACT Govt.

Robyn Ahlstedt Robyn Ahlstedt 8:13 pm 05 Mar 19

Apparently India does this.

Carrie Wright Carrie Wright 8:21 pm 05 Mar 19

About time strategies are implemented to deal with the plastic situation

Bonnie Johnson Bonnie Johnson 8:42 pm 05 Mar 19

So cool!

Kel Senior Kel Senior 8:47 pm 05 Mar 19


Tijana Delov Tijana Delov 8:51 pm 05 Mar 19

I think they need to get quicker at laying normal asphalt before they take on new materials. A small peice of Gundaroo took 2 years to complete and there is roadwork everywhere that its beyond the joke.

    Dan McLachlan Dan McLachlan 9:25 pm 05 Mar 19

    Asphalt is quick. Building the road is not. Two seperate entities.

    Tijana Delov Tijana Delov 9:26 pm 05 Mar 19

    Dan McLachlan yeah i just frustrated...still wondering if horse park will be finished this century.

    Paul Kitson Paul Kitson 10:00 pm 05 Mar 19

    Good luck with that - Its taken them 3-4 weeks to plant shrubs around the two bus stops near Yerrabi Pond!!

    Tijana Delov Tijana Delov 10:31 pm 05 Mar 19

    Tijana Delov all im saying is that we brag how innovative we are with recycling but we cant get the basics right. Im still waiting for shelter at the momcrieff bus stop which i asked access canberra to escalate a year ago as theres lots of people catching the bus and no trees to hide under in rain. No action. Or more parking at yerribi rather than just fining all the visitors for parking on the street when they have no choice. People are paying huge taxes for commercial space and their customers have nowhere to park because of poor planning. Everyone is frustrated and nothing is being done to fix it.

Corey Karl Corey Karl 8:55 pm 05 Mar 19

What a fantastic idea !!!

Roger Mungummary Roger Mungummary 9:05 pm 05 Mar 19

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

Laiza Jane Laiza Jane 9:08 pm 05 Mar 19

Rob this will be a slippery road to take 🤓

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.

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