Recovered plastics and glass can be used in concrete footpaths: new research

18 February 2018

Children riding bikes on footpath

In Victoria, it is estimated that approximately 100,000 tonnes of flexible plastics end up in landfill annually, and of the 250,000 tonnes of glass waste produced each year only 48% is recovered for recycling.

To date, recovered plastics have been used in applications including protective structures, masonry and pavement. They now, along with glass fines, have the potential to be also used in concrete footpaths.

Swinburne University of Technology recently investigated the use of end of life recovered plastics and glass fines in the construction of concrete footpaths.

They found that recovered plastics and glass fines could be incorporated into concrete footpaths without compromising the mechanical properties and meeting the standard requirements.

This research project indicates that there is significant opportunity to include recovered plastics and glass fines in concrete footpaths. The next step for this project is to work with local government and industry to increase the uptake of recycled content in footpath construction.

Swinburne University of Technology’s Dr Yat Choy Wong said that “the use of recovered plastics and glass fines in concrete footpaths will divert significant quantities of these materials from landfill; whilst reducing the demand for virgin construction materials”.

This research project is one of seven research and development projects investigating innovative opportunities to increase the use of recovered glass fines and flexible plastics.

Recovering and reusing resources is a key focus for the Victorian Government. Sustainability Victoria is exploring ways to increase the use of recycled materials in the construction and maintenance of infrastructure such as roads, railways, and footpaths.

Finding innovative ways to turn recycled material into viable new products is an essential part of Sustainability Victoria’s mission to divert much more of our waste from landfills, and re-use valuable resources.