Features, Industry News, Tasmania

Tasmanian govt expands use of recycled materials in roads

The Tasmanian government is expanding the use of recycled materials for new roads. It has been using recycled rubber from truck tyres in road resurfacing on several resurfacing sites in the north of the State, including on the Bass, East Tamar and West Tamar highways.

About 1.3 million tyres reach the end of their life each year in Tasmania, most of which ends up in landfill or stockpiles, and now some of these tyres are now being processed into crumb rubber and blended with bitumen for use as asphalt in the State road maintenance program.

“Now we are seeing more recycled materials being used in road resurfacing and it was my pleasure to today welcome Downer’s announcement to build a $10 million state-of-the-art asphalt manufacturing facility in northern Tasmania,” said Michael Ferguson, Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

This major investment will complement the state’s $2.7 billion injection to build roads and bridges across the State across the Forward Estimates.

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Downer’s General Manager, Marcus Stephens, said the new facility will replace existing asphalt plant that’s reaching the end of its service life.

“Our two asphalt manufacturing facilities in Tasmania currently produce thousands of tonnes each year that is used to build and maintain roads right across the state,” said Stephens. “Once the new plant is commissioned we will triple our hourly production rate, enabling Downer to service customers more efficiently.”

Stephens said in addition to boosting the state’s local manufacturing capacity, the new plant will deliver sustainability benefits to the community.

“The new plant incorporates cutting edge technology that supports production of road surfacing material with a high proportion of recyclable material,” he said. “Reconophalt is a…road surfacing product developed by Downer incorporating material that would otherwise end up in landfill. That includes soft plastics, ground glass from domestic recycling, road millings and recycled asphalt paving and waste toner. As well as producing a robust road surfacing product, we are helping communities turn their waste products into value-added material and avoiding use of virgin materials.”

Since 2018, Downer has laid 10,397t of Reconophalt in Tasmania in diversion from landfill of:

  • 6,476,000 plastic bag equivalents;
  • Toner from 189,000 toner cartridges;
  • 2,629,000 glass bottles; and
  • 960 tonnes of recycled asphalt paving material.

The new plant is expected to be commissioned early in 2023.