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Port Stephens on the road to being carbon neutral

6 June 2022

Glass, rubber tyres and old asphalt are just some of the waste materials diverted from landfill to road construction as Port Stephens Council drives resource recovery to help reach its carbon neutrality goal by 2025.

waste into roads - circular economy

As the first sustainable asphalt project in the LGA, Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer says making the most of what we’ve got and embracing the circular economy is a no brainer for Council.

“We’ll be trialling circular economy asphalt that incorporates recycled materials for the construction of Salamander Way, Salamander Bay and includes building 267 metres of road with works scheduled to start in June this year,” Mr Palmer said.

“Reusing materials instead of paying to send them to landfill makes sense both environmentally and financially. There’s direct benefits beyond diverting waste from landfill including reducing our reliance on quarry products, which are a finite resource.

“Roads built with this combination of asphalt and recycled materials have proven to be more flexible and durable meaning they are staying in better condition for longer.

“We anticipate the same results in Port Stephens which means we’ll be able to stretch our limited road budget further.

“We’ve also ensured we’re using a local supplier of the materials – not only enhancing the local economy but also reducing carbon emissions with the reduced haulage distance,” he added.

According to the Port Stephens draft Community Strategic Plan 2022 – 2032 being presented at the Council meeting on 28 June, ensuring the Port Stephens environment is clean, green, protected and enhanced is a key focus area for the next decade.

Group Manager Facilities and Services Greg Kable says the circular economy initiatives are going to transform the way we operate over the next 10 years, and we have to keep pace with what is happening around us.

“We need to use our resources sustainably, efficiently and equitably and this project is a great example of doing just that – and there’ll be more to come,” Mr Kable said.

“The Salamander Way project will incorporate, 57,917 waste glass bottle equivalents, 83 tonnes of recycled asphalt and crumb rubber from 758 end-of-life tyres with the reduction in CO2e of 8,865 kg compared to using virgin materials.

“It will save the use of 8.8 tonnes of bitumen, 78.8 tonnes of crushed aggregates, and 10.4 tonnes of natural sand.

“The benefits continue long after the road is built, with the circular economy asphalt 100% recyclable at the end of its first life. This means it is a truly sustainable solution for recycling waste,” he added.

This project is partly funded by NSW Environment Protection Authority, from the waste levy.

Further information:

The circular economy road replacement trial will use an asphalt product containing a high recycled content derived from problematic waste streams bound for landfill or stockpiling including:

  • reclaimed asphalt pavement from end-of-life roads
  • waste glass destined for landfill
  • crumbed rubber from end-of-life tyres

Benefits summary:

  • increased performance over conventional standard binder asphalt mixes
  • a longer asset life span (estimated additional three years)
  • potential to reduce pavement thickness thereby reducing cost
  • improved resistance to rutting for heavy traffic situations
  • flexibility and durability for light traffic installations
  • minimises the demand for quarry products, extending the life of finite resources
  • alternative to increasing waste disposal costs
  • reduced energy use
  • suitable for perpetual asphalt recycling
  • plays a key role in supporting Port Stephens Council to achieve our individual recycling and carbon emission reduction targets and carbon neutrality by 2025
  • use of asphalt incorporating materials that are approved for use in road construction by the NSW EPA.