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Ten-council recycling trial gets on the road at Wyndham Vale

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Construction of a section of road at Wyndham Vale, Victoria – incorporating consumer and industrial waste and part of a ten-council trial – is expected to be complete by the end of the month. 

The section at Cambridge Crescent will use a total of 170 tonnes of asphalt including 600 kilograms of recycled plastic, such as “notoriously stubborn soft plastics”, according to a statement from Wyndham City on Monday.

“Our aim for this project is to increase the use of recycled plastics in road construction across our city and to provide reusable guidelines for local councils wishing to increase the sustainability of their roads,” said Wyndham City Councillor and Climate Futures and Environment Portfolio holder, Robert Szatkowski.

As well as Wyndham, the project involves nine councils, RMIT University, Austroads, and a collection of authorities and specialists. It is coordinated by the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Transformation of Reclaimed Waste Resources to Engineered Materials and Solutions for a Circular Economy (TREMS) and led by RMIT Professor Filippo Giustozzi.

The ten council sites are expected to use an estimated 21,000 kilograms of recycled plastic altogether. The team will produce best-practice guidelines on using recycled plastics as part of the project.  

Giustozzi said that extensive laboratory studies for Austroads show the mixes to be mechanically, chemically, and environmentally sound.

“The performance of roads can actually be improved with the additions of recycled material, such as plastic and rubber, to be more durable against traffic and resistant against ageing,” Giustozzi added.

A study by the RMIT team, published in Science of The Total Environment journal last year, showed mixtures had 150 per cent less cracking and 85 per cent less deformation under pressure testing compared to regular asphalt.

Picture: credit RMIT

Further reading

Recycled plastic in asphalt to be trialled at ten Victorian sites

RMIT engineers present a road to reusing billions of disposable masks

Buildings used iron from sunken ships centuries ago. The use of recycled materials should be business as usual by now

How to make roads with recycled waste, and pave the way to a circular economy

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