Largest crumb rubber asphalt trial complete in South Australia

An image from the trial courtesy of Tyre Stewardship Australia.

Tyre Stewardship Australia and Topcoat Asphalt partnered to perform a trial of asphalt produced from recycled tyres across six Adelaide council areas.

It is hoped the trial will demonstrate the need for a new asphalt manufacturing facility worth around $5 million in Lonsdale.

Adelaide based company Topcoat Asphalt expects the trial to significantly boost local production of crumb rubber asphalt using waste tyres.

Tyrecycle Australia, who supported the trial, collect around 4200 tonnes of truck tyre from South Australia yearly but only around six per cent of the material is reused in the state. Most of the resource is sent to Victoria and New South Wales.

Topcoat General Manager, Kelly Manning said the trial marked the start of significant investment in both sustainable and innovative asphalt manufacturing technology at its Wingfield operations ahead of additional investment in manufacturing capability.

“At a time where many South Australians are experiencing job uncertainty, Topcoat is pleased to be investing in the S.A economy with state of the art technology and an additional manufacturing facility which will boost workforce numbers and benefit the circular economy,” Manning said.

Trial roads were based in the cities of Mitcham, Onkaparinga, Port Adelaide/Enfield, Campbelltown, West Torrens and Salisbury. The mix used has first been used in California and this trial will demonstrate its performance in South Australian conditions.

CEO of TSA, Lina Goodman said this trial is the largest one of its type conducted so far in Australia and we are hopeful that this will lead to a significant improvement of the recycling rate of used tyres.

In Australia, the equivalent of 29 million passenger tyres are up-cycled, recycled or processed locally for roads, playgrounds, polymers and fuels, but the equivalent to 27 million passenger tyres end up in landfill, stockpiles or are exported overseas.

This trial used the equivalent of 3400 passenger vehicle tyres, with a total of 20,000 kilograms of crumb rubber collected from South Australia.

A Tyrecycle Australia spokesperson said the trial showed the real impact councils could have on the circular economy whilst saving money for ratepayers over the life of the road, through improved road performance and reduced maintenance schedules.

“Right now, whilst the economy is grappling with how we recover from the COVID-19 crisis, Australia is looking for more solutions to be homegrown. This type of project ticks this box and has the capability to drive increased employment, investment and sustainable solutions into the communities around us,” he said.

The trial was funded by Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) with support from Tyrecycle Australia.

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