Downer has taken out the Large Business Category at this year’s Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards.
Downer won the award for its recycled asphalt product Reconophalt, which incorporates non-traditional repurposed materials such as soft plastics, glass, toner and reclaimed road.
Hosted by actor Stephen Curry and presented by Victorian Government Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, the awards recognise individuals, organisations and businesses working to create a more sustainable Victoria.
While accepting the award, Downer General Manager Strategic Development Michael Jackson said Downer was on a journey to change the way society deals with waste.
“We have invested significantly in our research and development, and over a long period of time, we’ve been able to bring game changing and market leading products to light such as Reconophalt, which repurposes waste material into valuable products, reduces the amount of waste going to landfill and also reduces CO2 emissions,” Mr. Jackson said.
“It takes courage to make change, and we’re starting to see this courage across all levels of government, to this end, the Hume City Council needs to be called out and applauded for their first use of Reconophalt on their road network.”
In 2018, Downer, through a partnership with Hume City Council, Close the Loop and RED Group, built Australia’s first recycled road, with soft plastics from approximately 200,000 plastic bags and packaging, 63,000 glass bottle equivalents, toner from 4,500 used printer cartridges and 50 tonnes of recycled asphalt.
Mr. Jackson said wider Reconophalt uptake would help ease the infrastructure industry’s reliance on virgin material.
“In a time when the need for virgin materials has never been greater, due to the fantastic big build we are currently in, the more we can reduce what is taken from our natural resources the better,” Mr. Jackson said.
“Even after it has been laid on the road, Reconophalt is perpetually recyclable, providing a truly circular and sustainable solution, with enhance durability and performance making it an ideal application on high volume roads.
Downer Road Services Executive General Manager Dante Cremasco said the award proves that with though leadership in sustainability, Downer can continue to set new benchmarks in recycling and repurposing waste materials.
“When incorporating new streams of recycled materials into asphalt, we must firstly satisfy the test to be able to perpetually recycle the pavements into the future,” Mr Cremasco said.
“We can only address the current waste issue by ensuring the future re-use of the materials. Reconophalt passes this test, providing a truly sustainable solution.”
Sustainability Victoria interim Chief Executive Carl Muller said the awards showed that environmental management was a growing concern for all Victorians.
“Each year, the Premier’s Sustainability Awards continue to discover the best and most inspiring Victorian individuals, organisations and businesses who are developing and implementing new sustainable practices,” Mr Muller said.
“Congratulations to all of this year’s winners. Your contributions will have positive long-term benefits for all.”