CBD roads resurfaced with used plastic

By David Schout

While excess plastic on the city streets usually attracts a range of angry complaints, the City of Melbourne’s latest innovation is by contrast an environmental positive. 

The council has begun resurfacing two of the CBD’s business streets using recycled plastics otherwise destined for landfill.

By using items such as car bumper bars, a hybrid asphalt containing 50 per cent recyclable materials is now being laid on our streets.

Amid an ongoing recycling crisis throughout Victoria after China stopped importing foreign waste, the move is seen as an innovative way to reduce landfill. 

“The paving on these historically significant streets will look exactly the same as any other street," Lord Mayor Sally Capp explained.

“The difference is that using plastic in the asphalt creates demand for recycled products.”

“We collect 11,000 tonnes of residential recycling each year. Using a mix of plastic to resurface our streets is one way we can support the circular economy and reduce landfill.”

The first road to be re-surfaced using recycled plastic was Flinders St, with works occurring on the stretch of road between Exhibition and Spring streets in October.

Works will continue next year on Spring St, between both Little Collins and Little Bourke, and Flinders and Collins.

Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the initiative was currently a trial – the results of which could see more sustainable asphalting in future.

“The City of Melbourne uses 10,000 tonnes of asphalt annually and we resurfaced eight kilometres of road last year,” Cr Wood said.

“This trial will help us understand whether it’s possible to use recycled plastic in more of our major projects.”

“This is an example of how we can work towards building a circular economy. By using recycled plastic and other recycled materials on our roads we’re creating more sustainable infrastructure and showing there are local markets for recycled materials.”

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