Two major steps taken to increase glass in NSW road building

Across Sydney, 16 metropolitan councils have joined forces to recycle nearly 100 million glass containers yearly into local roads. This marks the largest local government led procurement of recycled materials for road building in NSW.

A Request for Tender (RFT) has been released by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) on behalf of 15 councils representing over 1.9 million people aims to initiate a new age of road- making by using recycled crushed glass as a substitute for natural sand in roads and footpaths in line with Transport for NSW and AUS-SPEC specifications.

Parallel to this announcement, the NSW Government has released new guidelines for the use of recycled crushed glass in asphalt and have awarded more than $735,000 in grants for the use of this recycled material in road construction.

The SSROC initiative is called Paving the Way and it will aim to create a market for over 20,000 tonnes of glass per year, which equates to around one third of these councils household glass recycling collections. This will be done without compromising existing recycling of glass into beverage containers.

An innovative contract model will ensure emissions are tracked alongside the volumes of recycled materials used, to help councils report on their sustainability targets.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said the initiative is an important step for NSW by helping to
increase the uptake in the use of recycled materials and also boosting local economies.

“I want to make sure that NSW is a leader when it comes to recycling waste and maximising recycling, this is not just an environmental strategy but an economic one as well,” Kean said.

“This is about the NSW Government empowering business and local government through innovative and
sustainable initiatives that helps to build essential infrastructure, creating jobs and driving a robust
economy.”

SSROC President, Councillor John Faker, said, this is a game-changer that puts every household on the
frontline of a stronger, more sustainable society and reinforces the critical role played by the community in separating their recycling.

“Our councils are working hard to ensure that every single recyclable material put into the yellow-lidded bin is used as a resource.”

The new NSW Government guidelines for recycled glass are also hoped to help industry navigate the steps to establish and operate glass recycling facilities, and process glass to the standard needed for Transport for NSW.

Recent grants have seen Fulton Hogan and John Holland awarded funds to increase the use of glass in road construction projects.

Fulton Hogan received $250,ooo to upgrade its Eastern Creek asphalt plant and were given a further $236,000 grant to use recycled glass as a sand replacement on the Albion Park Rail Bypass.

John Holland received $249,987 for the development of a geo-polymer concrete containing recycled crushed glass as a replacement for sand.

Kean said these grants are hoped to encourage the reuse of construction and demolition waste, and also encourage the use of recyclable materials such as glass, plastics and cardboard in civil construction projects.

“Through this grant program, the NSW Government is boosting the future of recycling services in NSW, and helping industry prepare for the ban on the export of waste glass from Australia, coming into effect in January next year,” he said.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said this technology would not just benefit the city, but would also be used on regional roads.

“The NSW Government is leading the way in delivering innovative solutions that can allow us to build more roads at less cost, while minimising the impact on the environment, so it’s great to see what would have been waste products given a new life in new roads such as the Albion Park Rail Bypass,” Toole said.

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