Canberra to trial roads made of recycled plastic and glass

A new type of asphalt is being trialled on Canberra roads, starting with Gunghalin. What makes this asphalt unique and unlike anything previously used is that it is made from recycled material such as single-use plastics and glass.

The glass bottles and Express plastic bags Canberrans have been bringing to ACT Container Deposit Scheme return points are being recycled and processed to create this unique asphalt, Reconophalt. The composition of Reconophalt allows it to be very strong and resistant to deterioration as a result of heavy traffic.

Canberra Roads
Source: Chris Steel, ACT Minister of City Services Facebook Page

Each tonne of this product is composed of around “800 plastic bags, 300 glass bottles, 18 used printer toner cartridges and 250 kilograms of reclaimed asphalt”, said Chris Steele, ACT Minister for City Services. He stated, “If we are going to establish a circular economy in Australia, then all governments have to act to re-use materials in Government and private projects. Roads are a great place to start and the ACT Government is looking at how we can require the use of ‘waste’ resources in procurement for roads across the ACT.”

This is a perfect example of treating ‘waste’ as a resource and diverting existing produced material from the landfill and back into the economy. It is the foundation of a circular economy, something the ACT government actively supports. It also offsets the need to procure natural resources such as stone and sand from the environment to create the roads.

You can play your part in the circular economy by recycling your eligible bottles through the ACT Container Deposit Scheme. As you drive down the roads in Canberra made with Reconophalt, you can rest assured your efforts helped create them.

The ACT CDS is a partnership between the ACT Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator Return-It.