Plastic bags born again as new road in Adelaide

A road in Adelaide’s Happy Valley has been built using plastic bags, glass bottles and printer cartridges, recycled into an asphalt additive.

The stretch of road contains the equivalent of 139,000 plastic bags, 39,750 glass bottles, 3,200 printer cartridges, and 50 tonnes of recycled asphalt. It is the result of a partnership between sustainability solutions company Close the Loop, engineering firm Downer, and the City of Onkaparinga.

Downer head of road services Dante Cremasco said in a statement that the project highlighted the value of partnerships to create economic, social and environmental value out of products that would ordinarily end up as landfill or pollution.

“Further to the direct sustainability benefits [it] has enhanced properties of improved strength and resistance to deformation making the road last longer, and allowing it to better handle heavy vehicle traffic,” Cremasco said in a statement.

The road used an asphalt additive product called TonerPlas, manufactured by Close the Loop. According to the CtL, a kilometre of road laid using this will contain the equivalent of 530,000 plastic bags, 168,000 glass bottles, toner from 12,500 cartridges, and 20 per cent reclaimed asphalt pavement.

Other roads have been laid in Sydney and Melbourne using the solution, but the Happy Valley road is the first in South Australia.

CtL officially opened the TonerPlas line at its Melbourne factory last month, reported Transport & Logistics News. According to CtL, it is capable of creating enough product on the new line to “to pave a two-lane road from Sydney to Melbourne. That would contain the equivalent of 530,000,000 recycled plastic bags, 168,000,000 recycled glass bottles and 12,000,000 recycled toner cartridges.”


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