Post COVID-19 sustainable living a way forward for Australian industry.
SIX NETBALL COURTS and a carpark are being built in Googong using recycled plastics.
In a first for the ACT/Queanbeyan region Reconophalt, an asphalt mix of soft plastics, glass, printer toner and reclaimed road base, will surface six new netball courts and adjacent carpark in Googong (seen above in main image, supplied).
Just one kilometre of a two-lane road paved with Reconophalt can contain 500,000 plastic bags and packaging equivalents; 165,000 glass bottle equivalents; and toner from 12,000 used printer cartridges. The use of Reconophalt is a major step forward in environmentally-friendly sustainable design.
In addition to being more environmentally friendly than standard asphalt, trials with Reconophalt will be confirming the claim that the recycled road product has a 65% improvement in fatigue over time, resulting in less expenditure on repair costs.
Who makes this product and where is the material sourced from?
Reconophalt is manufactured by the integrated service company Downer. Downer designs, builds and sustains assets, infrastructure and facilities and is a leading provider of integrated services in Australia and New Zealand.
According to the company website, Downer offers solutions in landfill avoidance by recycling and repurposing domestic, commercial, road and construction waste materials into quality construction and organic products. They also heavily operate in landfill management.
Materials used in Reconophalt are sourced through community recycling programs such as Plastic Police, Cartridges 4, Planet Ark and Redcycle.
Change not always easy, but…
The developers of Googong championed the use of Reconophalt but they had to persuade Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council to sign-off on using the product. Promoting change on this scale was difficult to achieve, said Googong Project Director Malcolm Leslie.
A Queanbeyan-Palerang Council spokesperson said “If the current trial proves successful, it may be used in remaining streets within the Googong development and more broadly in local streets in the Queanbeyan-Palerang area. Broader use may also be subject to further review to determine suitability of the product in a more diverse cross section of road construction.”
Googong: other sustainable development aspects
Googong already boasts an Integrated Water Cycle system which can reduce potable water consumption by up to 60 percent.
The township has earned the Green Building Council of Australia’s first 5-Star Green Star – Communities rating, and the 2019 UDIA NSW Award for Best Master-planned Community.
Googong Project Director Malcolm Leslie said having a sustainable environment for the community has always been a primary goal. “Sustainability is at the heart of our vision for Googong, which has delivered a range of social, environmental and ecological initiatives for the community. The trial of this recycled road surface product is a great example of this vision and we’re pleased to be the first community in the region to implement this technology.”
Leslie said that the planning of the netball courts has been in motion since 2012 but using the Reconophalt only came into planning in the last six to nine months. Due to the winter slowdown in building activity the courts may not be ready until spring.
“It is a pretty new product, this is the first time it has been used on this sort of scale in this region. It’s just come onto the market and we thought it would be good to give it a go.”
Leslie is also the Senior Project Director at Peet Limited and is responsible for several other projects in and around the ACT as well as in South Australia. He says what they have been doing with the Reconophalt in Googong has been shared to his colleagues around the country and there has been interest shown straight away by their Queensland colleagues.
Implementing such environmentally-friendly strategies in townships like Googong shows how it’s done. Leslie says that he and the other developers at Peet Limited are pushing for the government to approve on more sustainable living projects.
MORE: NSW local councils already trialling Reconophalt
By Waste Management Review
Wastemanagement review story quoted Downer’s Executive General Manager Road Services, Dante Cremasco, saying: “the milestone event held on World Environment Day demonstrates the importance of partnerships with councils and road authorities to maximise sustainable outcomes for the future growth of the region.
“The innovation our new Teralba asphalt plant brings will see us not only lower our carbon footprint, but also incorporate new streams of recycled materials into the asphalt we lay, further improving sustainable outcomes for the region’s local communities and their roads,” Mr Cremasco said.
“Downer’s investment in this flexible pavement products manufacturing hub allows us to reduce our reliance on increasingly scarce virgin materials by over 30 percent and improve our energy consumption by up to 15 percent, which are really pleasing outcomes for the region.”