Analysis and Commentary

Celebrating Australian Made — for recycled paver maker, it’s about credibility

Analysis and Commentary

This month marks two years of manufacturing for Philip Goodman, who says his company has so far managed to turn about 300,000 kilograms of post-industrial plastic into new permeable pavers.

The Director of Truegrid Australia came to manufacturing after a career as developer and builder, particularly of over-50s lifestyle resorts. 

Goodman says he saw Truegrid – a system of interlocking sheets, each made up of permeable paver cells – at a trade show and began importing it in 2015 or so, impressed by its design and its environmental benefits for high-density developments.

“If you make the car park areas permeable with Truegrid you’ll catch 100 per cent of that rainfall,” he says.

“You’ll treat that rainfall as it moves through the gravel, you’ll be able to capture it, detain it, put it into your vegetation areas, infiltrate it into the ground and not overload the external stormwater system.”

Business ramped up in 2019, but the year after came with some well-publicised difficulties for importers.

“We decided that we had to find a better solution, which was to manufacture it here,” Goodman tells us. 

Today his company offers three varieties of HDPE pavers, which are infilled with gravel or grass and offer ground stabilisation, water detention and other benefits. According to Truegrid’s material, the products have an expected life of 25 to 60 years and are suited for “virtually any paving application except for high speed highways”.

Recycled plastic pellets are sourced from Wacol-based Resitech Industries. Contract production is not too far away, at Crestmead’s Evolve Group.

The difficulties of producing plastic goods locally – for example Qenos’s recent collapse – meant trying to start such an enterprise from scratch would be “nonsensical” believes Goodman. 

“Many of the plastic people are going broke at the moment, so it just didn’t make sense to do that,” he explains.

Evolve “were passionate about not only the production but the design”, with deep expertise all the way down to mould maintenance, and therefore the standout choice.

With sourcing and production of Truegrid taken care of, Goodman’s team of “five or so” is focussed on distribution and the task of educating certifiers, public works engineers and others about the benefits of a reasonably new product.

He says that they are the only company outside of the US manufacturing Truegrid, the invention of Texan plastic engineer Barry Stiles, who drew inspiration from Lego.

“And of course, manufacturing it in Australia is more expensive than manufacturing it overseas,” Goodman says. 

“But fundamentally you can’t sit here and talk about the environmental benefits to Australia unless you can show you’re taking the waste out of landfill and producing here… The Australian Made logo for us is about credibility.”

Pictures: Truegrid Australia

This story is part of Celebrating Australian Made, an annual series sponsored by Australian Made and profiling its licensees. For more information on becoming a licensee, visit this link.


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