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The Buy Recycled Service hybrid information forum was the first of a new event series, aimed to inspire, upskill and enable councils to consider recycled products and the circular economy. It featured industry and government leaders using, researching or developing sustainable and recycled products for infrastructure projects.
Slide presentations are available as a PDF to download after each video.
Topic: Sustainability Victoria’s role in building Victoria’s circular economy through innovation and partnering with industry and local government.
Without further ado, I'm going to kick over to our first presenter for the day. The one and only Matt Genever. Matt is the interim Chief Executive Officer for Sustainability Victoria. So Matt is driven by the potential for the world to make positive change. Matt is an environmental sustainability professional with 10 years of experience at SV and more than 20 years of experience across the public, private and not for profit sectors. A big focus in that time on managing me,as well as my previous boss as well. I'll chuck that in there too, but a particular focus around managing or implementing best practice waste and recycling systems and initiatives within the waste sector and really wanting and supporting, bringing true secularity to our material usage as well. So welcome Matt to the lectern.
Hello. Thank you. Thank you. Wonderful to be here. Wonderful to see so many of you and I believe Shannon, we have a significant contingent online as well. Excellent. Lots of nodding heads. So thank you for wherever you are joining us from today. I'd like to reiterate Shannon's comments as well. It's wonderful to be seeing people face to face, not taking away from anyone that's having an online experience, but the last couple of years, I suppose, has been very tough for an organisation like ours that is committed to connectivity and bringing people together. So albeit a smaller contingent face to face, wonderful see you all. And hopefully I do have to step away, unfortunately, straight after my presentation to go and do something else. Anyone that's been in state government before will know a scary acronym called PAAK that is just a hell that you never really want to live yourself through.
So that's this week. So I'm away later. Hopefully I can pop back down a bit later and do a bit of meet and greet later on, Shannon, if that works for you. Look, one of the things that I'm really proud of for Sustainability Victorian indeed, the Victorian government, is we have an overt preference now for supporting and using recycled content in our infrastructure projects where it makes sense to do so. And I guess one of the things that's excellent is how that conversation has evolved over the last 10 years. Many of you have been in this space, I'm sure for an equal, if not longer, period of time. One of the things I used to hear all the time was this phrase or question from people when I do conferences and they'd say, "Why are we burying waste in roads? That seems ridiculous." Thankfully, what we know now is that anyone building any sort of infrastructure in Australia is highly controlled in what they can use.
And we're not talking about waste going in roads. We are talking about highly engineered products that are built to a specification built to last, and they just so happen, as an added benefit, to contain some recycled content as well. So wonderful to see that change in Victoria and excellent that we're able to bring people like this, groups of people like this together to continue that conversation as it relates to local government.
I'll try not to keep you long, really. I guess my front end is more of the corporate, who are we and what do we do. And I've seen the list of speakers and many of them are significantly more engaging than me. So I'll try not to keep you too long, but just try and give you a bit of a flavor of who we are and why this is really important to us.
For those who have not worked with us before extensively, we are a statutory agency of the Victorian government. We are set up, we exist within the Department of Environment under the honorable Lilly Dambrosio, our Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. We have a board of skills based directors that provide fantastic strategic guidance and support to us. And really our vision, why we exist is to accelerate Victoria's transition to a clean, circular and climate resilient economy.
Now, what does that mean? In reality, it means that we get a really fun job, which is to work with change makers. We really work with those organisations, groups, governments, people that are actively keen to make change in our state and make it the most sustainable and climate resilience state that it can be. So I think we have a fantastic job.
We do that in three areas, innovation and investment, which is very much about partnering with industry and local government to create jobs and new projects. So very much why we're here today. Behaviour change and education, which is really about recognising that if we want people, groups of people to change their behaviours, they need the information and tools and nudges to enable them to do that. And we've got some amazing skills in SV in our social impact and behaviour change unit around behaviour change and education. And community action, which is also recognising that as state government, we've got great ideas about what we think should be happening on a macro level scale, what the state should be doing, but we know that local governments, local communities and community groups know what they need and what the people in their municipalities and areas need, and it's important for us that we work with and support those communities to take the action that makes sense for them.
In terms of our role, there's a lot on this slide. I don't propose to go through it in huge amount of detail because you're going to hear a lot of that I think from probably Shannon and the team later on, but we have a significant role in the circular economy space. It's key to us and a significant part of our new strategy SV 2030, which was on the previous page there and encourage you if you're not familiar with our strategy to jump on the SV website and have a look. But circular economy is our bag, which is excellent. And really we work up and down the whole circular economy from upstream, where we have a wonderful program called the Circular Economy Business Innovation Center, or CEBIC as it's more commonly referred to, which is very much about bringing the pointy end of the innovation chain together. So those businesses and research organisations, people that are at the pointy end that want to try new stuff and might need a bit of support or guidance or funding to help them do that. So CEBIC's wonderful.
We do a lot in the middle part, I suppose, of the circular economy. The use, share, recycle, repair area. And again, a really great audience here because a number of our projects are very much in the community and local government space. We have two specific grants programs, the Recycling Victoria Communities grants, and the Recycling Victoria Council's grants. [inaudible 00:06:57] Victoria, which is very much again, as I said before, about those local solutions, and that can range anything from whole of municipality, circular economy planning, down to specific things we've got a great business here that wants to start a repair cafe or wants to do something really nifty, and can you support us? So some great activity in that space as well.
Probably by spend, the vast majority of our spend happens downstream in the recycle, manage, recover area. A lot of investment in new waste and resource recovery infrastructure, about a hundred million bucks, which is more than we've ever had in the past, which is excellent. Really making sure that if we want the system to behave a certain way, if we want local government and industry to receive really great products to use, that it makes sense that we have the right infrastructure that can turn all of that material into something cool and useful. So a lot of investment in that space and indeed the fundamental reason why we're here and why Shannon has a job and exists is our markets acceleration package, which is again very much about saying it is completely pointless if we tell householders to recycle, businesses to recycle, invest in infrastructure, and then don't have anywhere at the end of the chain that wants to use that raw material in awesome products like we're talking about today. So that market development investment is super, super important to our role in the circular economy.
I don't want to pinch anyone's thunder today because I'm sure there's lots of people that are going to talk about the cool stuff that we are doing. And we absolutely know that many of you here today are indeed joining us online are already doing excellent stuff. There's loads of really good activity on the ground. And the reason we know that is because we're often getting calls about what's happening and people coming up to us at conferences and saying, "Hey, I'm from this local government and we're doing some awesome stuff. Can we tell you about it?" So what we are talking about here really is not reinventing the wheel. It's capturing this awesome momentum that's already started and really giving it some more legs and helping to accelerate it.
Through one of our funds, the Sustainable Infrastructure Fund, we've recently supported 16 councils to do really cool stuff with recycled materials through their infrastructure builds, about two and a half million dollars. And here's just a couple of examples of what some of those projects might look like. The city of Whittlesea, rehabilitating pavement with foam bitumen asphalt with the base course made from recycled materials including glass, sand, and aggregates. Wonderful to be working with some of the Alpine Resort Management Boards, Falls Creek, resurfacing a road and car park using asphalt containing recycled soft plastics, glass toner, and printer cartridges. You'll know that when it gets technical, I have to read from my script because otherwise I get it wrong. And the City of Casey installing plastic picket fencing around a sports oval.
So some of these things may seem small and tokenistic. They're absolutely not. They're about continuing to build a weight of momentum. And to put that in context again, Shannon may well remember that when I started kicking around this area probably 10 or 12 years ago, and I'm sure Lina's probably going to cover off on this in her presentation, the idea of crumb, rubber and asphalt was what we used to call emerging. And now we've got parts of the Victorian Government Roads Network that specify that at minimum quantities and are using significant volume 10 years later. So that old, was it Paul Kelly song from little things, big things grow? I think whilst these might be small projects, they're definitely emblematic of the types of changes that we want to see and no doubt the type of impact and scale that we'll see in the future.
Again, I suspect you know this better than I do, but there is absolutely no shortage of opportunity in the local council network. So for us, the vast majority of what we've been doing in the last three or four years is knocking on the door of state government and saying, "Hey, we build a lot of roads. We spend a lot of money on infrastructure. Wouldn't it be cool if we used some recycled products?" And we've had a massive, massive impact. And it's wonderful now to see obviously ecologic be the birth child of that and really taking that forward at massive scale in our infrastructure projects. But a great opportunity for local council. So we did a bit of research a couple of years ago that suggested there's about 12 and a half billion dollars worth of investment in local road infrastructure projects between 2020 and 2023. And that same piece of research said that just short of half of that, about five and a half billion dollars could absolutely use recycled content in those projects.
So again, we're not talking about tokenistic activity here, we're talking about scale and we're talking about substance. So excellent opportunity in regional Victoria as well, and really hope that some of you in the room, if not certainly many of you online are coming to us from regional councils in Victoria. We see a massive opportunity in regional Victoria and very, very keen to work with you as we're moving forward there.
Finally, before I pass back to Shannon and we can get to the real ball game, I thought it'd be worth a quick overview of some of the things that are front and center for us at the moment as part of that engagement, as part of our market development work. We don't hold any of the cards when it comes to spending the money, which is why I think in terms of the role that ecologic now plays in the state, as part of the state government market development activity, because they do have access to the funding and the procurement. We really see our role as the enabler. We are here to help support, connect, provide the opportunities to make sure the case studies and the wealth of knowledge is there to make sure people in local government know who to go to and where to talk a and who they can talk to.
We've got some fantastic things already underway. If you haven't already checked out the Buy Recycled Directory, please do so. It's very nifty, lots of cool products that you can have a look at there. And again, events like this, that sort of connectivity, masterclasses, bringing the right people together to bring industry and government to have a conversation. And we really see that as an important role for us sitting at the intersection point between government and industry. So it's a wonderful role and very happy to be playing that.
So I'm going to shut up and hand back to Shannon and say, thank you, please enjoy yourself. Ask lots of questions. Hopefully there's a lot of rich content today and very much looking forward to seeing what you do in your organisations in taking this forward. So Shannon, we'll hand back to you.
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Holcim’s business case to develop low carbon, circular products containing recycled materials and how councils can drive the use of sustainable concrete in their infrastructure projects.
So next we have a special guest, Cyril Giraud who's going to join us shortly. But first, I'll just give you a bit of an intro to Cyril. Cyril is head of sustainability at Holcim Australia and New Zealand. For the past 20 years, Cyril has focused on statutory approval processes, stakeholder engagement, and environmental practices and sustainable solutions across French and Australian jurisdictions. He's now leading Holcim Reserves, Planning Environment and Sustainability teams supporting 250 quarries and concrete plants across Australia. More recently, Cyril's also been leading Holcim's endeavour to be a leader in sustainable construction by providing low carbon solutions. The environmental product declarations for Holcim Concrete and Certified Carbon Neutral Concrete, first for the ready-mix concrete industry in Australia are examples of this commitment. Please welcome Cyril to the lectern.
Thanks very much, Shannon. That's a very impressive introduction of myself. When we were scoping the session today, we were talking about what we could bring to the table and how we could mirror all the excellent work that is happening in councils all across Victoria at a company level. And I thought that would be interesting to promote what's happening at Holcim, from a sustainability leadership perspective and how that then translates to our products. I'm taking a little bit of a high-level lens on where we at from our sustainability journey. What does that mean for our carbon profile and how that links with circular economy.
So, sustainability at Holcim. Holcim is primarily a producer of cement, concrete and aggregate in Australia and cement only internationally. I can't talk about our sustainability commitment and how we look at environmental impact without talking about carbon first. Because this is first and foremost, the biggest impact. And I'll just have a little start here on the slide about buildings. This is from the world building council, the fact that 38% of carbon globally is accounted for by buildings. And out of that, 30% is within the material. And I think whether you think about circular economy, recycled, whether you're talking about low carbon products, the concept of once you've chosen your product - what's in, is in.
And I think that decision mechanism process is very important to understand, the earlier we make the decision around which product we are going to use, how fit for purpose it is, the better. In Australia alone, construction infrastructure accounts for 15% of Australia's emissions. So, this is rather significant, and that's why Holcim at an international level was the first one in the industry to sign up to a net zero pledge and this was in 2019. I'm covering this in the context of circular economy, more from a sustainability perspective. The industry is changing and is changing with you. And I think that's very important to acknowledge that it translates into our products, and I'll come to that only bit later, but from a corporate perspective and leadership perspective, we are changing the core of our strategy. Our strategy globally is called, "Accelerating Green Growth". So, that's saying something.
The other thing that is very important to note is as more and more organisations are making pledges and commitments always think about how that translates into data and how that translates into accountability. You've heard about science-based target initiatives, and Holcim again was one of the first organisations to get their 2030 targets validated by Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI). And now we're also one of seven companies across the world to have their 2050 targets. So very strong commitment associated with our targets. You can see here building a circular economy, but you can also see these three other pillars that underpin sustainability as a whole. And when you are considering your materials and your solutions for your projects, I really encourage you to broaden your horizon to these different pillars. In the case of Holcim, there is a lot of initiatives that are happening in these different areas, whether it is in the climate space and some of our products that are low carbon. Whether it is about circular economy and integrating more waste into our products or increasing circularity of our products, nature is a very important one.
We are in all the different councils of Australia, you might have a Holcim quarry on your local government area (LGA), and if you do so, you know that in the quarry business, we do disturb some of the land. There is a real impact there, but associated with this, there is a lot of things we can do to enhance biodiversity in some of the land that we have control of, and that we can manage positively. So, there is a commitment to be biodiversity positive by 2030 and same thing with water. All of that, obviously, and operating within the LGA wheel, we all know that operating within our communities is also very important. So, building for people and the planet, what does that mean? That means these four pillars. One of them is circularity, and one of them is addressing that concept of making sure we go towards zero waste to landfill, and that we increase waste into our products, but the rest of it is as important.
This is how that translates. I'll put this slide because it's very important to see how big organisations can set the directions and be very transparent around where they're heading. ECOPact, which I will go into detail later is our low carbon concrete. With the very clear target, this is the kind of the first target about us putting forward to the market sustainable solutions. And in this case, that's low carbon concrete that actually uses waste material. You can also see construction and demolition waste, which I shall go into a little bit more detail later. But also again, you can see the targets related to water and some relating to a diversity, climate and sustainable financing which is a very interesting concept. This is when we started to link our sustainability performance to our financial performance. You might have heard about our sustainable bonds, for example, and at a high international level, this is exactly what's happening. The commitments we are making, the ones that are backed by SBTI, they are these commitments that we make ourselves accountable for. And certainly, and this is what's been changing really in most industries, you start to link sustainability performance to financial performance and that's one of the key drivers for us in the corporate world.
We can't do it alone though. And that's probably why I'm also here. We can't do it alone, but this graph, which is coming from the World Green Building Council is very powerful from building nothing, to building efficiently. We all have a role to play within that framework. For us at, at Holcim, in the design and construction phase, we have that ability and that responsibility to bring to the market sustainable products. Where you can easily see that, and I'm coming back to this concept of early discussions, early engagement, when you are designing and planning your project is absolutely key. And where before conversations with suppliers would happen way down the chain, we can see now, and we notice it now that more and more asset owners and head contractors are coming to us very much earlier to work with us on which solutions can be used for their particular project. There is sometimes a bit of a trade-off. I'm going to go into that concept of carbon versus circularity, and that's where these conversations can happen.
So, what's happening now? Because we talk a lot about innovation sometimes and we talk a lot about some of the things we'll be able to do in the future, but the reality is there are products that exist now, and this is what I'm here mainly to talk about today. And I wanted to really cover what's happening in the aggregate and concrete space so that you've got very practical examples of what's happening and having hopefully a little bit of a technical explanation of what's behind these products. And I could not start this presentation without having a bit of a screenshot of the Buy Recycled Directory, where some of our products are listed. I really invite everyone to have a look at that website. It's fantastic, and it actually lists some of the solution that are readily available.
So, for us in the concrete space, I'm going to talk about the ECOPact which is the low carbon concrete that is made low carbon by the use of waste material from other industries. And this is where we've got this fantastic co-benefit of removing material from landfill and also having that low carbon positive impact. And I would also cover, in the aggregate space, some of the solutions that we have with virgin material mixed with 10 – 50% crushed concrete to provide this recycled content.
So, what about ECOPact? So, I think it's important to go back to what is concrete, I suppose. And you've got a little graph here showing you what a typical concrete mix is made of. I'd like to say, and some people call me the barrister of concrete. I don't know if it's a re-qualification, but there are thousands and thousands of concrete mixes. I think it's 15,000 for Holcim Australia alone across the different states, 3000 per state, approximately. But each mix has got its different particularity. The typical mix is about what you've got on screen. So, 11% of cement, 41% of gravel and stone, 26% of aggregate. In the context of circularity, the game, if I can call it that, is how you're going to substitute some of these elements with recycled material.
What we've been focusing on, and the industry has been doing this for quite some time now, is to concentrate on the cement component. Why is this important? Because cement is very expensive, this is the first thing. Why is it important? Because cement is extremely carbon intensive. So, reducing the amount of cement is going to have a fantastic positive impact on carbon and imported carbon. It is also important is because it's removing or reducing the amount of virgin material that we need out of our quarries. So, if I concentrate on cement, 11% percent of cement is actually responsible for about 80% to 90% of the carbon footprint of your concrete. So, the more you're going to be able to substitute this cement with another material, the better impact you're going to have on your carbon. And this is what this graph aims at showing.
So, what you can see on this big graph here, all these little grey squares that you have here, represent the carbon footprint of cement. Everything else is all the other materials that I've talked about before. Now you can see that, and this is from a typical general concrete blend from AusLCA, which is the national database from the Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society (ALCAS). What you can see is obviously cement has got this intense footprint from a carbon perspective. What all these graphs are showing is as you try to replace this cement with other material, and when we talk about other material, we talk essentially about two things here. One is fly ash, which is a by-product of the coal fire power stations. And the second one is slag, which is a by-product of the steel industry. These materials, waste by-products which usually would go to landfill, can make their way, and have properties to be reintroduced into your concrete and essentially be used as a substitution of cement in your concrete. And what you can see is with these different blends, you're pushing the boundary of reducing this cement content and also reducing the embodied carbon.
What's extremely powerful about this, and when Holcim came out with ECOPact which has been on the market for only a year now. This is very revolutionary for us, not in the way we are doing these mixes, because the concrete industry has been using these by-products for quite some time. However, what is very different is to put these numbers on the screen. So, this EPD, the Environmental Product Declaration, is a third-party verification process of how you measure embodied carbon. And for the first time we've been able to really account for all this carbon and start to play with the recipes of how much substitution we can put in and how much we can push the substitution to decrease the embodied carbon.
And you can see from a AusLCA general blend mix to an ECOPact mix, we're going from in this instance, which I believe is a concrete mix in New South Wales, 406 kilograms of CO2 per cubic metre, reduced to 270 kg of CO2 per cubic metre in the case of the ECOPact mix. That is what we're aiming for. You've got this double benefit of using waste material, replacing cement and reducing your embodied carbon. And what that means is that you can actually reduce embodied carbon from 30% to 60%. This is the definition of our ECOPact range. And you can start to put these different solutions on one graph, this graph is from 2019 which is again revolutionary. What we're doing here on this graph is putting the strengths of the different concrete. So again, think lots of different thousands of different concrete mixes, you'd see the different recipes. So, what type of blend do we have? And for the first time on this graph, you can also measure your environmental impact. That's the type of conversation that we're having more and more at the design phase. So, what is your target from an embodied carbon perspective, from a recycling perspective? What is the right mix for you? And these conversations are fascinating conversations, and we now have tools that allow us to put mixes through a little calculator and have all that data being spat out for us.
We are looking at the product range now. Because all of that might sound a little bit complicated, but how do we make it easy? It's all about having that discussion of making sure that we reduce the impact before we start to even think about offsetting the impact. So, reducing the impact is the 30% to 60% reduction of embodied carbon by the use of waste material, measured by your Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) in the background. And if you wish to, whilst we are decarbonising the industry, we also have certification with Climate Active, which allows us to offset the remaining carbon. And as we offset this remaining carbon, we get a carbon neutral product. And that gives us that carbon neutral concrete, which I remember the first time saying this, it felt even odd to me to talk about carbon neutral concrete. But this is where we're at, we have the ability to do that now.
What's very important, and I talked about early engagement. What is very important for us is how do you specify low carbon concrete? We heard a little bit before about the procurement phase. Because it really comes down to that, right? These solutions do exist. You've got that duality of low carbon and use of waste material in these products in ECOPact. But how do you actually specify this? Well, it's about asking for low carbon concrete first and foremost, and what we need to look for, what you should be looking for, is products that are backed by an EPD so that you can measure with a third party verified process, that particular reduction, but also give you the exact content of your product. And if you're going through certification and carbon neutral products, you should ask for Climate Active certification. We are now doing a lot of work with councils, with also state governments and federal governments around what specification should look like. And if you have very specific questions about that, don't hesitate to engage directly with your suppliers, because we might be able to assist you in how to specify these products.
Another area that is quite exciting for us, I've talked about what is in the different concretes and that substitution of cement. But we can also start to play with what we put in that concrete to change the characteristics of it. What you have on the slide here is recycle fibres. So essentially these are fibres that have been manufactured out of waste that we supply, they're called eMesh from Fibercon. And what we do is, with these particular fibres, we put them into the concrete which is going to change the structure of the concrete and essentially have a reinforced concrete. These have potentially fantastic application and avoid the use of steel in some applications. So, we have been trialling these in some footpaths, in some of the works with great results. So again, these solutions also do exist. And it's really about thinking about when you do the specifications and you think through your project, to think about some of the solutions that exist in the market.
I've covered concrete quite a lot. And hopefully you've got a bit of a sense of how to play with the recipe and the mixes of concretes and how you can influence outcomes and sustainable outcomes. And some of these solutions do exist now. And that's the same thing with recycled aggregates. The beauty with concrete is it can be recycled many, many times. And through what we have internally anyway, we do produce concrete waste and that concrete waste can be re-crushed and reused in other products. And this is what we are already doing. And this is available in Victoria, where we actually take this concrete waste out of our concrete productions and then we re-crush it, we mix it with virgin material to different levels. So, you can see 10% 30% and 50%, and then you can use it in a range of different applications on your roads, pathways, and the like. These mixes have also been approved by VicRoads. So, there's actually a direct application that can be that can happen there.
That type of material has gone the full cycle where I've talked a lot about concrete mixes and using waste material into the concrete. Now we're talking about using concrete that has been poured, that has hardened, re-crushing it and reincorporating it into a different type of material. Again, this is happening today, but we find, and we have to be transparent about this. The demand is always a bit complicated, right? To create demand, specification is absolutely key. So, I tend to talk to people about procurement, procurement, procurement, but that really comes down to that. When we are specifying projects and when we are procuring, you have as local council, the power to decide which materials are actually matching your sustainability ambitions and how to specify them will drive increasing demand in this type of materials, which again, do exist today.
We do have other things that are happening at a trial scale with using crushed glass in some of the products or other type of materials in some of the products. I can see local councils having this fantastic sandpit where you can really trial these products at a small scale before you start to go a little bit broader. And again, you have the ability to talk with suppliers directly to see what solution can be provided for your project. That's a good story, but that's also setting a precedent and that can be duplicated.
That was me and what Holcim is about and what Holcim is doing at the moment. Hopefully, you've had a sense of that corporate strategy underpinning what's happening in our product, continuing to push the boundary. What's very important, I think, is for us to remain accountable around this environmental benefit. And I am absolutely emphasising is that things like EPDs, to have that third party verification of the positive impact and how you measure it, is absolutely critical. As well as looking at procurement processes and specification, that can definitely change the dial. So, industries like us are already, we've got these products, we're continuing to research and develop new products and very keen to work with you. Thank you.
Thank you, Cyril. We do have some questions there, but I think just great to hear about Holcim's broader commitment to products beyond just the Circular Economy as well. And I think really interesting to hear about some of those initiatives and innovations that are being pursued and led by industry as well. I really love that point that the benefits for recycled materials and products beyond just obviously the landfill diversion benefits. We've certainly seen that through our own R and D program of work. That it's about doing better, not just moving products. As Matt suggested before, into an aboveground landfill, as some unkindly referred to some of the activities. We do have some questions.
Yes. We have some questions for you online. So, first question online, what thoughts does Holcim have for overcoming entrenched views on low-carbon concrete? For instance, someone telling you that it doesn't have the strength bearing capabilities, etc.
There's a lot of myths I think about recycled material and low carbon material. And I think we are all experiencing this. These materials have been used for a very long time the same way. And there are different avenues that we are doing. First of all, it's raising the level of awareness. So, through what I've shown, there is a mix for everyone, so there is not one concrete. And the earlier we can have a conversation about what's fit for purpose, the better we can actually address what is the right mix for the project. And we've seen this many, many, many times. We've got examples where we've had asset owners that come to us and say, oh, we'd like to do a very specific floor, concrete floor for some of our warehouses and this is universal store in Queensland. But it's never been done in a low carbon way. We've always used mixes that have 100% of cement. We worked with them very early on so before contractors are involved around what would be the right mix for this particular project, and this is how it's made its way to specification and then through all the procurement phases. So, I'm coming back to the same point. We can overcome all these different barriers, but it is about early engagement, specification, and procurement processes. Obviously local government, state government, federal government have a huge part to play with the buying power that they have. And they've got the ability to use this.
Another question from online. Can you please comment on the decreasing availability of sand and is there a sustainable replacement?
Yeah, that's a very interesting question and I think a lot of people also ask about fly ash, because as we're moving away from coal, what's going to happen? Well, the reality is that we move with material that is available, right? And we innovate accordingly. So, if I take the case of sand, for example, there is this concept of manufactured sand. So, this is material that you crush like aggregate, but to another level, much finer. And that allows the reduction of extraction of virgin sand. So, this is happening more and more in the different markets. That's one possibility. The other one, when I was talking about fly Ash, is there are actually other materials out there that can also be used as replacement of cement. We are very much in the R and D space now. So, I've got full confidence that when fly ash eventually drops, we will have other the types of material and some of the materials that are being explored are waste material out of the lithium mines, for example. So, we all know how lithium is going to be a critical component to the transition to electricity so that there might be some opportunities there.
We do have another question about fly ash, and then I'll go to the floor. How competitive is pricing for the concrete using substitutes like fly ash or slag blends or ECOPact, versus general blends?
Well, I've heard my CEO talking about this type of premium. So, I can comment without fear. For the ECOPact mix, we are not talking about that sustainable solution costing a lot more. And I'm sure also I'm not the only one to experience this. But we are talking about few percent increase. We are not talking about 50% or 40% or whatever it is. So, these premiums are actually limited, and these products are extremely competitive. In fact, ECOPact was, for Holcim, launched in April last year, and it's now representing quite a substantial part of our market already, so we've got great hope for this.
Hi, Craig from Laing O'Rourke. I'm just interested in once we put all this concrete ECOPact down in 10 years’ time, I know our roads wear out and we have to replace them. Can that same material be then recycled again? Or does it just reach a point where you just can't recycle it anymore?
Sure, sure. And I think, generally speaking, I'm not talking about just the ECOPact here, but generally speaking, the different cycles of circularity, is still very much an ongoing science because we are just at the beginning. From an ECOPact perspective though, this is concrete as you know it. So, the cycles of circularity are infinite. It can be poured, can be used, and then recycled and reused.
That's a good answer. That's what we want to hear.
Hi, it's Lina here from Tyre Stewardship Australia. I'd love to know Holcim's plan to use tyre derived fuel in cement kilns? If that's on the cards.
So, we don't have a direct cement production line in Australia, so I can't comment for Australia. But I do know that we are, at a global level, planning to use a hundred million tonnes of waste to power our cement kiln and that includes tyres. We do have a company called Geocycle that looks at these different opportunities.
Topic: State Government and Ecoloqiq driving recycled materials in Victoria’s Big Build projects.
Next up, I'll change the slide for a start is Tony Aloisio, who is from Ecologiq, Director of Ecologiq over at the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority. Tony is an infrastructure industry leader and a passionate advocate for all things circular economy. Before joining Ecologiq, Tony held senior roles at both Fulton Hogan and Boral Asphalt, so well across the sector and the areas we're talking about today. For those that don't know, Ecologiq is a Victorian government initiative and aims to integrate recycled and reused content into every corner of Australia's $80 billion Big Build program, looking at up-cycling products, going to drop the waste into infrastructure delivery. So please welcome Tony to the lectern.
Thanks. Thanks very much, Shannon. And just looking at that photo of me there, I can tell I need a haircut, so we'll see how we go with that. I was delighted to be here and nice to have heard the earlier speakers, and hopefully what I have to share just helps build on that. I do want to engage with everyone on how you can go about and how we've gone about implementing the use of what some people call waste resources, but I call circular resources, so the actual practical application of getting material into a massive, unprecedented opportunity that Victoria has at the moment. We've never had $80 billion worth of infrastructure to build that's both road and rail across all of the Big Build. The lessons in there are easily transferable in many cases to local government as well, and keen to be able to share that.
I think while we've been hearing about a lack of sand and a lack of quarry materials and what have you, well, we've got also a massive influx of waste materials going into landfill, export bands coming and looming and already here in some cases. So that's a problem. Can we convert those materials into usable solutions? It feels like a match made in heaven in some ways. We've got a problem in supply, and we've got a supply of materials that we can't get rid of unless we find creative ways to do it. So, we need to take the challenge up, and the challenge is being taken up in the Big Build. I think for local government, I guess I'm putting it out there saying there's a challenge for local government to take that challenge further and actually make something of it. And I know it can be done, and I know there's many pockets of excellence that are already on that journey as it is. So, I really encourage you to continue that. I'll talk about that a bit more as I go through the slides here.
So Ecologiq, purposely greener infrastructure. We are a Victorian government initiative. We are part of the Major Roads Projects Victoria, but we work across all of the MTIA agencies that are delivering the Big Build at the moment. So, you can see those Level Crossings Removal, Major Roads Projects, Northeast Link Rail Projects Victoria, the Suburban Rail Loop. Craig, I see, you'll hear from Southern Rail Loop. That's great. And West Gate Tunnel are all part of the projects. We do work across infrastructure delivery. We also work across policy on, we also work in the technical space and in also encouraging and working very closely with SV in getting the supply chain to link into the contractors and to the work that we do.
So, we have these focus areas, optimising the use of the circular materials. That's really, we work directly with the project team. So, when a project comes along and it's about to start, we are working with those project teams to actually work out how we can optimise the delivery of materials. We are learning, and we are starting to work further back into the process as Cyril spoke about earlier, to actually get into design thinking and into where we can go to actually encourage people to go down that pathway before they've even commenced the project. We do provide technical leadership as well at Ecologiq and that's available to all.
So really it is about specification and standards reform. A lot of our standards and specifications are built from empirical knowledge that's been honed over many years, 100 years or so of work, but it's based on prior knowledge. So new products, new solutions need to find their way and to make the use of these materials business as usual and need to find their way into the standards and specifications. That requires us to think about innovation, trials, that type of thing as well. And I mentioned market development. So, it doesn't work without a supply chain and suppliers.
One of the things we learned is that the contractor supplier market is very well established in traditional supplies, like Holcim, like Boral, like Hanson or like others. Those markets are well understood, they're mature and the connections are made, the customer relationships are made. But when somebody new comes along with crumb rubber tire products or plastic products or what have you, they don't necessarily come from this industry or don't necessarily know how to find their way in. So, part of our work, part of SV's work is to uncover them, part of that and encourage them and help them build, and part of our work is to connect them. And finally circular economy transition as well, so really thinking about how we turn these products into whole of life, end of life solutions, how we design for the future.
We've talked about procurement a little bit, so one of the key things and one of the really key drivers of success is a procurement, a successful procurement policy that is implemented correctly and that is focused on implementation. I think procurement policies can be tick the box exercises, particularly when you start going outside of the straight line of make and do, when you start going to social procurement, or when you start going to the type of procurement we're talking about, it can be seen as a side issue. So, it's important to bring it front and centre. And I think the social policies that the government now present is a good example of how that started to work, how by putting targets in place and by encouraging and using that leverage with the marketplace, those things have come together.
Similarly, we have a Recycled First Policy. The Recycled First Policy requires contractors bidding for that $80 billion worth of work in the state government to tell us how they're going to optimise the use of recycled, reused, repurposed materials. So there, that bit of leverage is important for us, and I want to talk a little bit about how that's going, I guess, as well. I have got to say, this is the only state in Australia that's actually doing this. In fact, some of the work we're doing is pretty leading in terms of the way we're applying this policy. Sounds like I'm beating my own chest there, but that's the story. And we are collaborating across Australia with other state jurisdictions on it. So, a little bit of an insight, a snapshot of some of the early days of Recycled First. What's happened in our first projects since we've started this model is that we are something like five times the amount of recycled material going into our projects, as compared to what was happening before this policy was implemented.
About two-and-a-half times more reclaimed asphalt, 65% more recycled glass, and we haven't even put a multiplier on the plastic because there was a zero plastic, so you can't multiply it out too much, and it's just starting to come along. And there are other products as well that we could have spoken about. But to give you a feel for it, that's just doing what is permissible, allowable in the specification. It could always have been done. It just wasn't focused on, it just wasn't a priority area. Making it a priority through your procurement policy is a way to establish the outcomes that you're looking for. So, I really want to strongly recommend, again, procurement policy as a key driver and a key piece of leverage as to where it goes. I really want to say this as well. Our societies, the people who live in local governments, they want a sustainable circular society that they live in. Government, got a policy, wants it as well.
And you've just heard from Cyril, and I can say industry is moving in that same direction, whether it's supplies or contractors, they want the same thing as well. And they're moving towards the same thing. They know which way the wind's blowing, but they also have their own values as well. And we know we hear from them. This policy would've failed without the contractors wanting to embrace it. And there's a bit of push and a bit of carrot, and this is the sort of outcome that you can get just by what is already permissible in the standards and specifications. And if you want to know what's permissible in the standards and specifications, go and read the hundreds of them that Vic Roads and DOT has, if you like.
Or on our intranet and now our new website, these reference guides, we've done the work for you. We're happy to have done all the heavy lifting. Please take advantage of it. But these reference guides tell you what is permissible in the standards and specifications. And if you go on there, it's an interactive document. You can click on it and see and read the actual specification clause if you want to, or you can see in it what is permissible by product, by application. We've got a reference guide for road infrastructure. We've also got a reference guide for ancillary infrastructure. So, I think Shannon was showing you pictures of boardwalks and things like that. So, there's all this roadside furniture and we've also got one for rail. I haven't put it up there because there's not a lot of rail work done by local government potentially, I don't think.
So, I've shown a couple. So, they're available and available resources as well. But you've got to start somewhere. So that's already what's allowed. What I can tell you too is those reference guides have recently been updated because some of the work we do in the technical space is actually changed the standards and specifications. We're now allowed to put more reclaimed asphalt into certain types of asphalt. We're now allowed to put more glass into certain concretes. We're now allowed to use more plastic in certain applications. Those noise walls that we built at the Mordialloc Freeway out of 75% recycled plastic, first in the world, I guess, that were designed to be done with steel or with concrete, there's now a specification that is neutral when it comes to what the material is.
It says, "What are the properties we want from a noise wall?" Well, it stops noise, and it's maybe anti-graffiti and a few other bits and pieces like that. There's some fire resistance and some UV resistance, and the way we go, you can build it out of paper mache if that works. But we will then direct people towards the best recycled outcome, and you can take that opportunity. But the policies are just a start. I think in Cyril's presentation, and I think in what Shannon said at the start, it's really where do we take it? Where does the innovation go? And what are the opportunities to go beyond the norm, and to challenge ourselves to take the opportunity to handle these, what we call waste crisis priority materials. And things like organics, crushed glass, increased plastics and crumb rubber and the like, where do we take those? Because the specifications don't have all of what is possible in them at the moment. So, we've got to do something about that as well.
And I think that's where there's a great opportunity to do small scale trials in local government or what have you, to really take these things further. So, SV will know all of this, but these are the priority materials that we're looking at, plastics, organics, crumb rubber, glass, and more recently textiles as well. So, textiles, somebody's out where, DOI, I think we're looking for an opportunity to actually make, use textiles into a geo fabric that would be placed on a road project. And it might be coming from mattresses, recycled mattresses and so on. We might turn recycled mattresses into roads. Should get a soft or smooth ride out of that, I think a comfort ride. Hey, that could be great. So, we also know that there are some kitchen tiles that are made from recycled textiles and recycled glass. Really keen to see where, in our Level Crossings Removal program, where we build stations. And so, they need some tiles, maybe. Let's go and do that and really showcase it as an opportunity.
So, you look at that and say, "What have textiles got to do with road or transport infrastructure?" Well, we'll do our bit, whether it's big or whether it's small, we'll start something, we'll start a little fire and go with it. I'm just going to focus a little bit now to wrap up on some of the plastic innovation that has occurred. There are many other things we could talk about and many of other applications. One that I saw earlier is showcased in one of the councils that used a foamed bitumen in an asphalt. So recently on the Golf Links Road Upgrade, which I think is either Mornington Peninsula Shire or Frankston, the team there converted what was going to be a new, full-depth road pavement, which is this much crushed rock and asphalt all built up.
They were able to come up with a solution where they could use a foamed bitumen. So, bitumen just means it's been foamed up, so it's nice and soft and easy to actually find its way into the pavement and stabilise the existing road that was there, strengthen it up, waterproof it, and then build on that a much smaller, much thinner layer. And that's reuse, that's a reuse opportunity, which all falls in the same family. And when we talk about does recycling cost more, well, in that case, it saved about $2 million on the project as well as providing a true circular solution. So, if we think carefully about it and make that work, we can create great things.
I might just add, in the design, this is the existing pavement and we're duplicating it, so what matters when we talk about going back at the start, what matters is that if that had been designed with a different grade so that it was, the road was being lifted up to here or what have you, wouldn't have been able to do that because we would've had to fill that hole. So, by thinking about how you design the road in the first place, you can make that solution work for you. And that's just a great little example. But I did put plastics in here because it is the fastest growing of those emerging waste products in terms of applications. Lina's going to go past plastic one day and crumb rubber's going to take over. But right now, plastics are the products that are really finding their way into infrastructure. I've just mentioned a couple here, the recycled plastic noise walls that I spoke about at the Mordialloc Freeway, they are a world first, a brilliant effort.
We talked to a manufacturer about that. They thought they could put 30% recycled material in. We challenged them. They ended up getting to 75%. So, they can get to 75%, how much further can they go? We'll see. We do know that a second manufacturer has come on board with a slightly different process. So, we're actually building a market and building a world that might do it. We’ll now go to Melbourne Airport Rail and have a look at what they're doing there. And they're looking for noise walls. They've got a structure that's in the air. So, guess what? A plastic noise wall that weighs a third, less than a third of a concrete alternative, in fact, much less than a third sounds like a great idea. When you've got to stick it in the air, you don't have to put all the structure underneath it.
So, you want to talk about saving money again, you now don’t have to put as much of Cyril's great concrete into the substructure to hold up something that's far too heavy, when you can do it with this thing that's super light and create the recycling opportunity. So, start little and all of a sudden, all these other opportunities find their way along. Emesh, someone spoke about Emesh already, but I might, and I think it's been placed from Port Douglas to Hobsons Bay along the East Coast in various places. It's well established, it's approved by Vic Roads and DOT. Holcim manufactured it as a proprietary product as well. But it is plastic fibre that’s replacing steel mesh. It's used on shared user paths. We're using it on all of our projects in the Big Build now in the shared user paths space.
And on top of that, the people that we've contracted to lay the concrete is an Aboriginal concrete laying company. There is a different technique. I do want to say this about plastics. Plastic is not concrete. It's not steel. You get a different product. You have to know how to handle it. If I hop into a right-hand drive car, that's not going to be much good to me if I'm driving around Italy. In fact, nothing's going to save you if you're driving around in Italy. But you go left hand drive, you have to learn some different techniques. So, you want to place Emesh, there's a different placement technique. What, the great story, the good story, one of the good stories about Emesh now is that we've taken an Aboriginal company, and they are now the experts in placing in this product, so it gives them a bit of leverage into growing their social enterprise requirements as well. So that's Emesh.
I want to talk about the recycled plastic drainage pipes a little bit, which are really an emerging product. And that 60 tons I spoke about in those first couple of projects is predominantly coming from these recycled plastic pipes. And railway sleepers, I'm not going to talk too long about railway sleepers except to say it's a really exciting space. Right now, there's an organisation in Victoria that makes recycled plastic railway sleepers. After a number of years, a lot of support from SV, a bit of support from Ecologiq along the way as well, those sleepers are now approved for low-speed environments. So, the sidings, the stabling yards, those types of up to 40 kilometres an hour. Next step is actually to do a trial to see if they're going to be allowed to go to 80 kilometres an hour.
And beyond that, an R&D project to further develop a product that can do a main line run. 65, something like 65 kilos of plastic in every railway sleeper and try to count all the railway sleepers in Victoria and the number of timber ones that have to be replaced, and we might solve the plastic crisis in rail just on its own. Who knows, hey? So, these products that I've just spoken about, they are approved. They don't come without their challenges as well, right? They come with challenges of people not having used them before, not understanding how to handle them. "And this is not the way we do things. We've been doing it this way for 40 or 50 years. So not in my backyard. Sounds good, but no thanks. How do I know it's going to last?" All those sorts of questions. In the case of recycled crushed glass, we get questions about OH&S style questions about silicosis or something like that.
So, there will always be pushback. There'll always be like, "I haven't done it this way before." What we know is that these pipes are going into the biggest projects that Victoria has ever had, and they're working. So, these local governments, subdivision, whenever I drive past a subdivision, I only see concrete drainage pipes sitting there stopped up, waiting to go into the pit. In fact, I've got a mate who's a subdivision builder, and I won't name the council. I said, "How's business?" He said, "Ah," he said, "you can't get supplies. Materials are hard to get." I said, "You should be flat out." He said, "Yeah, but we can't get stuff." He said, "And we can't get concrete parts from whoever." I said, "Why don't you use the plastic ones?" He goes, "Council will never allow that."
That was his, "The council don't like it." So that was his first comment, right? I said, "Well, you and I have to have a ..." We're having a beer, now we can have a talk, sort of thing. But it is that change process. It works. You've got to learn. You've got to learn a little bit about it along the way. Emesh, so this is an actual lump of concrete with some Emesh fibres in it. So, you can see why, when you're placing it, you need to know how to place it because if it comes out like that, no one's going to walk on that. But no, the fibres are 360 degrees everywhere in this space. So, the finishing needs to be done a little bit differently. The mixed design's a little bit different to allow the space for the fibres. You don't want to finish off with those things poking out.
So, there's a little bit of change required in doing it, but there's a great payoff. And again, these fibres are packaged in Ballarat by a national disability services organisation. So again, we're doing good in two realms, if you like. Recently at the Formula One Grand Prix, there was an 80 square meter concrete pad laid for the data capture centre of all finding out how fast Charles Leclerc can actually drive that Ferrari. It had to be removed. It was replaced with Emesh at that particular centre, and it's gone back to the recycling company, who are now working out and have worked out by just blending it with other concrete, so they can dilute the fibres through and then use it as a crushed concrete in road base or what have you.
And I'm sure as we go, the innovation will come along to say, "How do we separate?" and what have you. So, where there's a need, the innovators will come, I'm sure. And I want to say this, we do meet up with local government on shared user paths in the Big Build because often the shared user path becomes the asset, at the end of the project, that asset usually gets handed back to the local government council. So, it's important, if you're in local government and you're interested in this, where we know it works, we're meeting regularly with project teams and with local government as it comes up, because there are always these questions. "Well, hang on. I don't know this stuff. No, no, no. What do you mean?"
So, if you're interested in it and you're not sure, you'll see we've got an email address and a website and what have you. You can be in touch with us to talk about it a bit further if need be. And here's a little story, another little social enterprise story. Eco bollards. So how many bollards are there in Australia? I don't know. Where do they come from? They don't come from Australia, right? They're all imported. They're all imported plastic bollards with rubber bottoms on them. And they have a very short life. They get run over, they get stolen, they get bitumen all over them, they lose their luminosity or whatever the case may be. We collected 4,000 of these on one little road project recently. A mob called OC Connections, really got to talk to DOI and SV and others and congratulate them on the work they've done with OC Connections, who are now manufacturing these. I think, are they commercial now, are they? They're commercial as of now?
So, any minute now, you can have one of these bollards made by a social enterprise company with fully recycled. They'll have some of Lina's crumb tire rubbers in the base mat as well. They will cost about the same. Why wouldn't you do it? It's just the right, it's just a great story. And it's a small thing, but again, from small things, big things grow. Someone said so. There's just a couple of examples of putting your creative hat on, but also putting on your structural hat on and saying, "I've got a standard and a specification that allows me to do things. What else can I do?" I want to just talk about one, quickly, one other resource that we've got on our website or on our intranet, but now we have a website so it's there. This is a visual guide. So, if you're not an engineer and you don't want to know the actual percentage and read the clauses and what have you, you can look through this visual guide, and it'll just take you through what's possible by different applications, what's available. And you've seen some of these pictures before.
But all of this, there's many more pictures in the visual guides. There's one for rail as well, but it was just to give you a snapshot. Hey, we do these things. We have a website, ecologiq.vic.gov.au. There is a commercial company called Ecologiq. Don't go there, go to us. There's an email address there for you to contact us. And in 2022, we've got these things, an innovation showcase, an exchange, which is about suppliers coming along and showing and just dropping in. It's a bit like Shark Tank. Come in and show us what you've got. We've got a panel of judges who help them along. We have an exchange, which is suppliers and contractors speed dating online and being put into rooms to get to know one another. And we have these lunch and learn sessions, where you can sit down and speak to or hear from and ask questions of a subject matter expert. I've probably spent a lot more time than I should have, but hopefully that was worthwhile and look forward to catching up with you. Thanks.
Buy Recycled Service – a new service to enable councils to buy recycled products with confidence through tools and resources
I'm going to introduce the fabulous Recycled First team now from SV, Dian Lipiarski who's with us today, and Katherine Ponton who is joining us online from home as well. They are, obviously, the Recycled First team, in partnership with Stella, who's sitting over here, and is one of our helpers, assisters, today, as well. And the Recycled First program really is just that, a program that aims to put recycled products first, primarily focused on local government, and as Tony's touched on, Ecologiq, who are really looking at that state government delivery aspect and doing that via a range of different mechanisms and initiatives as well. I'll get out of the way and hand over to the brains trust and, welcome Dian.
Thanks, Shannon. And it's great to be here. So, we've got a great audience online and also in person. This is our first hybrid event, and we're here today as part of our Buy Recycled Service. My name is Dian Lipiarski, and I'm part of the Recycled First team, as Shannon mentioned, along with Katherine and Stella, and Katherine will be speaking later today, online. So, our service is aimed to support councils to use more recycled materials and products in infrastructure projects, including landscaping, parks, and gardens. So, our program is really aimed to align also with the Recycled First policy and the work that's coming out of Tony's team, Ecologiq.
We've recently completed a number of research activities while we were developing this program. So, we really wanted our program to be research-driven and fit for purpose, and meet council needs. So, the service that we're going to be showing you today is in its first iteration, and I really do encourage councils, in person and online, to reach out to us, tell us what's working and what's not working and give us your feedback when you use the service, because we're really hoping to develop this and build it over time.
So, we sent a survey to local government representatives, and we asked them what were some of the key barriers, and the information that they were looking for when they were considering recycled material and products. And this was aimed at helping us prioritise some of the resources that we developed on our website, but also understand what was working and what wasn't working for our Buy Recycled directory, which is a key part of our service that Katherine will be speaking to later today. Some of the key findings we found were that councils felt some of the barriers when they were considering recycled products was that they were unfamiliar with the product, they had low confidence in the product and the products weren't being considered in their tender specification or evaluation criteria. And they also wanted to understand the long-term performance of these products over time. Councils indicated through some of the interviews and the survey that they were looking for additional information on standards, if products met those standards, what the performance was over time and the ability for products to be recycled at end of life.
So, as part of this research piece, we launched our Buy Recycled Service, only a few months ago, and we developed a number of resources. Firstly, we updated our Buy Recycled directory. So, what we did with the Buy Recycled directory is we flipped it from a supply focus to a product focus, because that's what we were hearing from users that they were looking for when they were searching in this directory. We also added in new sections, such as relevant standards and specifications, so councils could find that information readily when they were looking for these products, as indicated in our research. There are also now new sections where you can find case studies related to products in our directory, and news stories and, even some videos. And you can also see the distance from where you are to where suppliers are, so this can help you if you want to choose products that are more locally made. You can also filter by recycled content percentage and the types of materials that are used in the products.
As part of this service we also developed a procurement toolkit, which provides guidance to council officers around the procurement cycle and key considerations they can think about when they're planning and going through procurement of different products. So, in the procurement toolkit, you can find things like, an example scoring template, resource schedules, and evaluation criteria. And really, the aim for this toolkit is to pick and choose what you need and what fits your council, because we understand that every council's different and they have different policies and procedures in place. And so, it's really a flexible document that can be used.
So, for example, in the planning procurement phase, we've asked the reader to consider a range of different things such as, what are the organisational needs? Is there already a sustainability or procurement policy already in place that you can be looking at and aligning with? What type of sustainability outcomes are you seeking in this procurement? Are you looking at recycled products or are you looking at products more holistically and thinking about the circular economy? If any market analysis has taken place. So, what types of products are available, and are there opportunities to use recycled materials in a specific procurement?
I'm now going to hand over to Katherine who will be speaking about some of the other resources that are available on our website. But again, I just encourage councils to try out some of these resources, let us know how they're going and help us improve this service over time. Thanks everyone.
So, in addition to the resources that Dian just shared on our Buy Recycled Service website, we've also got product information sheets. These contain overviews of recycled product categories, including the attributes, benefits, key considerations and questions that you might like to ask suppliers when you're purchasing recycled products in these categories. We currently have two information sheets on the service website. They are about recycled plastic furniture and decking information, so, if you are looking to purchase any of those products, you might find those useful, and recycled aggregate for drainage and bedding. As Dian said, we're constantly adding to this service, so we will be producing additional product information sheets in the future.
On the website, there's also some case studies, and these are based off our Sustainable Infrastructure Fund projects, which Matt shared earlier. These are council projects, and we've heard from councils that they're really keen to hear how other councils have used these products and materials, what the challenges and benefits were, and they've got really helpful information on them from a project manager perspective. There's currently three case studies on the website. They're from a City of Whittlesea project using a road base rehabilitation using foam bitumen asphalt, City of Darebin for their hockey field redevelopment using a range of recycled materials, and the City of Casey who did a recycled plastic sports field picket project. So again, we'll be adding to those, but if you're interested in any of those types of projects, I suggest you have a look there.
There's also listings on the website for relevant standards and specifications. So, we've compiled a list of some of the relevant standards and specifications relating to the use of recycled projects in landscaping and infrastructure. These are VicRoads or Department of Transport standards and organic standards there at the moment, and we'll be adding to those.
We've also got a dedicated email inbox for all queries of this type, so encourage you to reach out to us through our sustainable procurement inbox and ask us any questions. And yeah, this is the first step. Keep in touch with us about the service. We're really keen for your feedback, and there'll be more offered throughout the service. I'm keen to let you know today about two upcoming events we've got for local government. We've got an event coming up on June 15th, it's called speed dating with local government project managers. And at this online event, you can learn from five or six councils who have done sustainable infrastructure projects about their project, the materials used and any key learnings from their experience, and then you'll get the opportunity to ask in-depth questions in small breakout rooms with the project manager. So, that's a really exciting session that we are looking forward to, so I encourage you to put that in your diaries.
We've also got another event coming up as part of our Buy Recycled Service. The date's to be confirmed, in July. This will be in-person at SV's office, and in this session, participants will learn how to embed sustainable practices within council procurement processes, and it'll be delivered as a workshop style event. We'll learn about the Buy Recycle Service, how to use the toolkit, how to use the product information sheets, how to use evaluation criteria. Attendees will be able to bring along questions and materials for review. I believe we've got a lot of participants today from council procurement departments. This session's definitely for you, and encourage anyone to come along who undertakes tenders and tender evaluations. And I should say for the speed dating session, that's a great session for those who deliver project management, major project departments, engineering and infrastructure departments.
There are a couple of other SV events for local government we thought we'd let you know about. On the 1st of June, there's a council forum on councils moving from two to four household recycling and waste streams. Many councils have already been in attendance at those sessions, but that's coming up. And then in September, there's a circular economy masterclass coming up for council staff and decision makers. It will cover the basics of circular economy principles and how councils can benefit financially, reduce risk and support local jobs in industry. It's led by international expert, Jodie Bricout, with Australian and international examples.
So, they're just a couple of the ways that you can connect with SV on this. However, we also really encourage you to visit our website. I'll also put it in the chat in a moment. https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/recycling-and-reducing-waste/for-councils-and-other-waste-recycling-operators/buy-recycled-service.
We encourage you to sign up for news and updates on the service. That's one way we can really keep you informed, also to ask us a question, as previously mentioned, and we're really keen for those today to share what we're telling you and about the service with your council colleagues. It's relevant to lots of different departments at your councils, and we really encourage you to share the follow-up information we send through with your engineering, infrastructure, planning, urban design, major projects, parks and gardens procurement departments. Thank you.
Wins, challenges and learnings from a permeable pavement infrastructure project at Yarra City Council.
Welcome, Damien. Damien is Integrated Water Management Lead at Yarra City Council, and he has over 20 years’ experience working in the public and private sector. Over the last 12 months, in the Integrated Water Management Lead role, he has assisted council with implementation of a number of critical strategic planning, community engagement, design, and construction projects. Included in this portfolio are two permeable pavement projects, one of which is the Rutland Street project, which will be the focus of his presentation today. Welcome, Damien to the lectern.
Thanks, everyone. Today's a bit about Rutland. I've got to completely different bent than most presenters. I'm going to sort of do a bit of a detailed investigation into what happened, and lessons learned. So hopefully some technical people in the room will enjoy it. In terms of what I want to go through today, I want to provide a quick overview of the project and about Yarra City Council. I'm going to spend a little bit of time around that design development and construction component, and then go through some work that we're currently doing, looking at research to replicate this going forward, and also project outcomes. A little bit about Yarra City Council - we, we are one of the smaller inner-city councils. So, via both geographic area and population, we're probably a little bit smaller than most others. The numbers are shown there. Our, our sort of average population age is about 33 and we've got a very diverse population within our municipality.
The organisation for Yarra is a predominantly Greens Council. So, for someone like myself in Yarra, as an Integrated Water Management (IWM) lead, it's really important that we are getting strong support for environment and sustainability outcomes. And as a basis for the decisions, we have made going forward, the IWM plan that was endorsed by council in 2021, a key document, which is shown on the screen there. And, through that investigation and planning, we realised that moving forward, we really had to rethink a couple of things: One of them was how do we look at alternative storm water management and treatment going forward rather than the conventional water sensitive urban design approach? I'll explain why in a second, but we also had to think about, we've got things like urban greening strategies and the like, how do we make sure the trees that we have there are still in place in a number of years’ time with the changing climate that we're seeing?
Before I get too much further, a couple of acknowledgements from the outset, a lot of this information isn't mine, so I just want to acknowledge Porous Lane in particular, who've shared a number of slides that I'm sharing with you today. Aussie Civil, who's a contractor on this job, and also Melbourne University. So, the question up front was why permeable pavement, and as I mentioned, we really had to rethink how we, we see stormwater management within Yarra. And the reason why is we've been doing storm water management treatment for the last couple of decades. And what we've found is, in Yarra, every space is at a premium. So, whether it's the road reserve, whether it's our open spaces- it's very hard to justify putting in a bunch of water sensitive, urban design assets in some of those spaces. So, roads, for example, we want to put in bike lanes, parking is always a premium, our open spaces. We don't have a lot of them, so when we do have them, we don't want them encumbered with additional assets. And that's a bit of an exaggeration with the services location there. But we do have some serious problems with utilities within our area.
So, whenever we excavate underground, we are generally surprised at what's actually not on record and our costs generally go up. So, and that's also very similar for contamination. So, from, from our point of view, keeping things closer to the service, not digging big holes in the ground is a really important thing for us. If you can just make out, there's also an image of two trees there, which was part of one of our initial sites when looking at for this project. Trees are an example there they're dying for water. You can see them, heaving the pavement, the roots are sort of making their way up. So, this to us is a potential solution to start really giving water back to these trees, which have been around for a long time, but we want to make sure they're there for a lot longer.
So, as I've mentioned, the real purpose for us with this project was to think about maximising tree health as a first priority. The second was to think differently on how we manage storm water. So, we really looked at this particular project as that pilot to demonstrate the people that things could be done differently.
And for us, there was three fundamental parts to the project. It wasn't just about implementing a set and forget. It was about a pretty rigorous design process. It was about construction and capacity building during construction. But it was also about the ability to research and look to replicate. So, it's very typical of what everyone's spoken about today. We can't just put in a pilot and just hope for the best, it's this whole process. That's really important to recognise. Again, before I get too much further, I'm not going to talk a lot about procurement, but what I am going to say is from a permeable pavement point of view and why we've got down the path with porous lane, we really saw a supply like Porous Lane as a major differentiator in the market.
In that they're not just coming and saying, here is the Porous Lane pavement, see you later build it and we'll come back if there's a problem. They've been involved with us from the day we submitted the application to Sustainability Victoria, through the design evolution all the way through to making sure that the asset is wearing right, we've got defects support, but also there for the research program, with their connection with Melbourne University. So, for us, in terms of a procurement point of view from council, we're able to demonstrate that they are a unique provider and generally work through a lot of loopholes local government has around procurement. So again, just re re-establishing those points again, which I won't touch on.
Hopefully now I'm going to get into more visuals of what happened during the process. So, I'll start with the design development process. We have sort of three fundamental phases. Phase one was looking at a quite a substantial long list of projects - we shortlisted the sites to about three. Then we end up with a preferred site in Rutland Street. So, I just want to quickly walk through that journey.
So, to put this in context, and I think another real important thing to recognise is for our organisation, that one thing that's really important with what we were trying to achieve was trees. We had to make sure we're putting in a permeable pavement with trees that were healthy. So, it just so happened, very good timing, but our council was going through a process of planting a substantial number of trees within our municipality. There was a media release in April, which was obviously well after the fact of when we delivered this project, but it was about those delivery of trees. So, we quickly looked at the database of where those locations were and began to sort through all those sites and I can't say I did all, all that. It was one of our student engineers that gave me a helping hand, but it we ran through quite a detailed investigation of those preferred sites before we ended up with the top three. Surprisingly, it was one major factor that Pro Land is on Rutland Street. And you can see all the photos is one common factor, and that is Bluestone curbing within Yarra. We are really conscious of bluestone curbing; it’s heritage listed, we're not just going to rip it up for any particular reason, not even for our permeable pavement project. So, the example on Rutland Street was one where it actually was a section where we had no bluestone curbing. So, we end up selecting Rutland Street and to be fair, Clifton Hill has been a, quite a generous community for us in all of our projects. So, we thought it was a definite win-win for moving forward on Rutland Street.
A bit about Rutland Street. I don't want to spend too much time on it, but there's sort of some key features. I want to point out. It's a typical road within Clifton Hill with car parking on both sides. Again, a number of services that transect the road. We've got terrace housing on one side and social housing on the other. So, it's a real diverse community in general, Clifton Hill. So, it was a bit of an exercise for us to think through the detail of how we work through the final solution for the permeable pavement in this site. So, a bit of orientation, we've just got Rutland Street, just tucked away behind the Eastern freeway, just relatively close to Noone Street and Roseneath Street, which are the main access points from Hoddle Street.
The scope of the work - you can see in a visual there. So, we're picking up in total about 10 car parking bays, maybe more that were disturbed during the construction process. We tried to keep the footprint to a minimum, given that there were people using those car parking spaces. And if I zoom in again, the site itself and the project would be that we planted three new trees that were both all surrounded by a car parking bay, the side that was permeable pavement. So, we've got a total of about six bays that were implemented as a permeable pavement. And on this site, there just happens to be trees that aren't being treated with a permeable pavement. So, we can make a lot of comparisons of how these trees go versus those that aren't in a permeable pavement area. While I've got this image up on the page
I want to quickly just talk through how this type of system works. So, it's a real simple diagrammatic, but I'll run through it anyway. So, we've got stormwater running off from the side of the road. It makes its way into the permeable pavement area. That permeable pavement begins to saturate to a point where it overflows and then discharges into the stormwater drain. So, there it receives a level of saturation, but there isn't a large extent of volume just sitting there permanently, because we kill off the trees. So, it's again a pretty, pretty unique system in terms of its high permeability. And again, the design solution is relatively simple.
In terms of the typical profile on what we adopted on this project is the pavement itself is about 150 to 200 mm thick. So decent composition. It's made of multiple layers, which I'll touch on in a second. The key thing for this project was again, services. There's a gas main shown in bright red for a reason. It's one of those things we had to work through and relocate as we went through the project.
One more image that sort of shows you an idea of how the permeable pavement interacts with those tree planting zones. Again, if people want to speak about in more detail, I'm happy to answer questions about it, but we use a structural soil around the trees because of the close by loading from the cars.
So, this is the porous lane typical section, which Amir kindly provided me with and there's sort of three fundamental layers to creating a permeable pavement. Number three, I'll start from the bottom is the sub upgrade so making sure it's nice and firm from a compaction point of view. The second layer, which in our case, I think sits at about 100 mm, is the area where water begins to saturate the pavement once it percolates in. That's made of a geo cell, which is a honeycomb plastic composite with crushed rock within it. And in that same layer, there's a perforated drain that takes the excess water away. The top 50 mm for us was the actual recycled rubber content material, which is about 50% recycled material. And I'll show you some images soon, but it's typically laid like concrete, which again requires some level of specialised expertise.
In terms of construction, I'll go through a couple of really simple steps. First, was clearing through any utilities that had to be relocated, implementing some of the underground assets that had to go in and you can see those construction works happening there. The GSL grid - that's that honeycomb arrangement shown in the picture, which was then back filled with rock and AC rock aggregate.
The last part of that stage was finalising the filling over the geo cell and connection to the storm water drain. The final product, which Stella was able to see on the day was the installation of the top layer, which you can see them laying like a typical laying of concrete, which again, Michael mentioned a bit earlier, it's really important that some of these contractors build their capacity in learning and implementing this stuff. We’ve had examples where we didn't get quite as good a finish on other projects. So, these, these expert laborers were really important in getting a really good finish on this project. And so, the final step was the tree planting so that the project was officially opened just after Anzac Day, which was a great outcome for us and on schedule, which was great.
So, the next phase for us, which we're still working through is the research and replicate phase. So, at the moment we're coming up with a research brief that looks at a few factors for long term research. One is obviously going to be the permeable pavement performance. The second is the tree health, the third is moisture retention within the pavement itself and stormwater runoff.
One thing I haven't spoken a lot about is Yarra has a lot of areas that are subject to flooding and ponding. So, for us, stormwater runoff and understanding how the pavement performs in that type of environment is also a key criteria for us. Really exciting in the last few months, it’s also been announced that we've won some additional money through Melbourne University ourselves and Tyre Stewardship of Australia to actually combine some funds, to look at a pretty comprehensive investigation, which is paving the greener roads and healthier waterways research project which Rutland Street is a part of.
Just before I finish up with the last couple of slides, I just wanted to quickly just show an image so I could talk about some of the research work that's happening. The three new trees that are going in as part of the permeable pavement are shown, with three numbered red numbers at the top of the page. So longer term, we're able to research the growth in the trunks of each of those trees compared to those that aren't in permeable pavement. And we're also putting in some cool moisture gadgets to measure moisture content within the soils and some flow meters. So, we can have a very good, really detailed, comprehensive assessment of what's happening with this system overall. And Melbourne University will be setting up a live portal for us to measure those controls over a fair bit of time. So, I think for us having that research component, it's got to be the proof to show everyone that this system does work. So, it's a really good, combined effort on that.
In terms of project outcomes, I suppose we've spoken about it a bit today, but without capacity building in these trials, things aren't going to change. So, we really think it's important- and this project had people involved from project management to landscape teams; all involved at different phases in the project. That exposure across the organisation was really important. What we saw as a second step that's really important for us is trying to streamline implementation. So, we developed up standard drawings and I think Tony might have mentioned a bit earlier having case studies and to show people that you can kick tyres is something that's really important for us to show people how it works, what we've learned, what went right, what went wrong. I think that's what people generally want to see from a pilot. There's growing interest by both internally and externally so we're always welcoming a site visit and showing people what we're doing. Community education and awareness campaigns are also important for us. So, we're not just stopping at internal engagement, it’s speaking to the community and saying, "this is what we are doing, this is why, this is how you can be involved moving forward."
The last two points I want to sort of spend a little bit of time on. I think they're really important to understand for moving forward and particularly about permeable pavement. Again, and Amir will back me up here and suggest that we need economies of scale to make these projects a lot cheaper. So, when you compare a permeable pavement versus conventional pavement, at the moment, they're not like for like costs, they're quite a bit different.
One thing we need to start thinking about with permeable pavements is we can't just look at the permeable pavement aspect alone. Permeable pavement gives us a number of other factors like storm water quality improvement, tree health, and we're obviously reducing the amount of landfill of recycled tyres ending up in waste. So, I think moving forward, changing that narrative, and looking at it holistically from a life cycle really needs to be part of the thinking and implementing these types of projects, rather than looking at the upfront costs.
Just some acknowledgements before I finish up a couple of consultants helped us out along the way, Afflux and Engeny, which have been great to work with, and the previous organisations that I've mentioned. If there's any other questions you, anyone wants to reach out on via email or phone call, please contact myself or Amir moving forward. So, thank you.
Thanks Damian. That was great. And I think full disclosure, it was a project that SV were pleased to fund under the Sustainable Infrastructure Fund, which Matt touched on a little bit earlier. We've got time for a couple of quick questions. I think we might have some online, any on the floor as well?
We've had a question online, which is for Damien. How are you planning on managing when permeable pavement gets blocked? Are there any significant management practices required?
Very good question. Now first I'll, I'll probably pick up on Shannon's points. We should have acknowledged Sustainable Victoria’s a’s funding on this project from the assets, so I apologise in my rush. Yeah, I think it's a good question and like I mentioned earlier, the maintenance team's been involved early to understand what this product is, how it can be maintained. And I think that's an ongoing education program for us internally. So, we'll typically be cleaning these assets with our typical street sweepers in the short term, what happens in the long term that's part of that investigation to check on its performance. So, we think it's a much better product than anything else that's out there at the moment, so we think that selection up front was important. The maintenance theory, the long-term consideration, hence the pilot. So, maintenance is a major consideration for us.
I think if I remember correctly, you had chosen to use Evergreen trees, which should help with the blockage as well.
Just wondering if you're looking for council research, project partners?
Happy to have a chat. Yep.
Awesome. Thanks Stella and thanks again, Damien for your presentation as well.
Topic: The value of using recycled tyres in local infrastructure projects – case studies, product uses and key considerations.
Onto our final presenter, but by no means least, Lina Goodman, CEO of the Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA). Lina has more than 20 years of experience in resource recovery in environmental innovation and bringing together project partners to deliver business and environmental improvements, and also increase and enhance reputation. In Lina’s time at TSA she's developed and implemented a strong strategic and operational direction, both locally and internationally, whilst leading the scheme to receive Australian government accreditation for Best Product Tyre Stewardship. Lina’s pragmatic action oriented, determined, and approachable leadership has revived the TSA. I witnessed that firsthand in a lot of our R & D and our program activity as well. Lina also maintains an active passionate involvement with Resource Equity, an organisation that works to empower, increase, and improve women's rights to land.
Please welcome Lina Goodman.
The good part about that is that my head wasn't on the screen, and I can quickly go past it. Okay. Thank you. So, TSA, we're an industry led product stewardship organisation. We are funded by tyre importers, not all of them because we're only a voluntary scheme. So, the funding that we get from tyre importers goes to administer the scheme and our objective is pretty simple. The first is to create new markets from tyre derived material. The second is to avoid the mismanagement of end-of-life tyres. And certainly, the last one is around public awareness.
So, one of the interesting facts is 85% of the nation's roads are actually managed by local government. And for me, I think about if at the very least we saw 20% of local government consider the use of tyre derived material in their roads, it would go a significant way to utilising tyre derived material, to utilising the tyre waste that we create in our own country. So local government entities can really become change agents if they take this option up. The risk is really low. The specifications are there. Case studies showcase it's proven and it'll be wonderful to see a lot more of this activity happening in local government.
Whilst I'm not a golf player by no stretch of the imagination, but what was interesting is that we have a lot of golf courses in this country. 374 of them are in Victoria. Many are public golf courses and I'll share with you a little bit later, how tyre derived material has been used in some of the Victorian local councils and how possibly it could be shared across some other councils that have to manage local golf courses as well.
We have a huge amount of sports and recreation fields across the country. Many of which have synthetic turf, natural turf, and crumb rubber. What I would love to see is how local council can consider their due diligence when they're putting in these sports fields. Sadly, we've seen a lot of imported crumb into the country to be used in sports fields. Most recently, we imported a million passenger ties into crumb to be used in a sports field and we've certainly got a lot of that locally that can be used. So, we'd love to see less import and more locally used.
And of course, the endless amounts of playgrounds, public parks, barbecue facilities, that is used and managed by local government who can really spearhead the use of a lot of tyre derived material in a lot of these facilities. Happy for you to come and have a chat to us and I'll share some examples of how that is used, a bit later.
Now, endless opportunities. Playgrounds. This is a cute little crocodile made of tyre derived material, permeable pavement that we talked a bit about before. This protector flex, which is a blast proof wall, a concrete wall that has crumb rubber. It's now used a lot overseas, but we'd love to see a lot of it used here in Australia. This funky light fitting that we've just fitted in our own office made from tyre derived material that has some great acoustic effects to it as well. And of course, it's not just in playgrounds and roads. It's also in the agriculture sector as well.
I want to share some numbers with you. What does it look like for Victoria? So, we have about 120,000 tons of end-of-life tyres in Australia each year. You can see here, the percentage of what it's made up of, from a passenger truck and off the road sector. When we think off the road, we think everything. Agriculture, construction, we don't have a lot of mining, but wherever there's mining, it's mining as well. Certainly, passenger truck and bus make up the lion’s share of what reaches end of life each year.
We are recovering 71% of this, which is great news. A lot more we can do, particularly in the off the road space. As you can see, there's less than 14% recovery in that segment. But one thing that really strikes me is that we are still exporting a lot of this material offshore to be used as a tyre derived fuel or other aspects in other countries. I'd love to see this statistic change because we need to use a lot more of our waste here locally.
These are some examples. I'm going to go through some case studies in a second, but we've seen tyre derived material used in concrete road barriers. We talked a lot about permeable pavement. We're seeing the road sector simply take this up nationally, which is great. And of course, equine tracks, athletics tracks and so on. But I'm going to cover some specifically now. Low traffic crumb rubber road project we did with several councils. What's important is that TSA acknowledges that the road sector can go a long way to using tyre derived material. In fact, Victoria spearheaded the use of tyre derived material back in 1975, when we first started this process, so it's not new. But we'd like to see a lot more of the local councils take up how tyre derived material can be used.
Nationally, we're supporting about thirty-two projects, the equivalent of about $5 million of investment. And the benefit for local councils is proven and that includes improved driving conditions, noise reduction, longer life, less maintenance, and improved skid resistance. A lot of this research has been conducted and available to you to see that the actual benefit of putting crumb rubber in roads is proven.
The next one is around sports fields. Recycled tyre rubber granules from end-of-life tyres have been used to provide a stable, shock absorbing and durable base layer across sporting fields. The example utilised here was 1500 tons of end-of-life tyre granules across this project. And we see that the project provided a new benchmark for an engineer free draining racetrack that was used for horses. And it was used across Australia after this project as well. I did mention earlier, this is one of the segments that concerns me the most, because we are seeing far too much imported crumb being used in these projects where we'd really love to see that change and it be locally used. And one of the things, advice I'd like to give local government is when they are considering new precincts like this, do the due diligence about who's going to produce this material and where they're procuring their product from.
The next one is around golf courses, and I mentioned that earlier. This is an example here of Ballarat Golf Club and they used fifteen ton of tyre derived material in their bunkers. And this project has now been picked up from golf courses in Queensland as well. The benefit of using tyre derived material in golf course is that it minimises the distortion and cracking from the tree roots and porous pavements also means reduced impact on surrounding vegetation. The good news is that we're going to see a project in Boroondara as well, who's using permeable pavement in the new pathways, and we're excited to see that project come on board as well. These are whole new segments where tyre derived material can be used outside of roads.
But we'd love to see more local councils come on board and at the moment, these are the only few that we have that are really talking to us about a pathway in which more tyre derived material can be used in their local councils. So, we are going to be talking to a lot more councils this year, because we'd love to have you on board.
What does it mean to be on board with TSA? Local councils provide a whole ecosystem of connecting with tyres. The procurement is a really big one. One, it's around the infrastructure, whether it be roads, whether it be local gyms, playgrounds, golf courses, but also the procurement of fleet vehicles or the engagement with fleet organisations. Specifying tyres from organisations that are contributing to a scheme will go a long way to support stewardship. The second is around engagement, certainly engagement with TSA because we'd love to work more closely with you, connect you with those organisations that are doing a lot of these projects, and certainly engage with us from a funding perspective as well. Lastly, local councils need to dispose tyres. There might be tyres at your transfer station. There might be tyres that are littered in your municipality, and you're certainly no doubt seeing a lot more of that these days. We'd love for you to only work with those organisations that are TSA accredited. We want to avoid organisations collecting tyres that are just going to stockpile somewhere else.
But we also want to make it easy, so here are some tools. The first is around the accreditation process with Tyre Stewardship Australia and that means we work together on an action plan and a roadmap of how you use tyre derived material in your own council, how you dispose of tyres in your council and how you work with organizations that are contributing to stewardship schemes. We've recently launched the TSA collaborator program and we're trying to make this easy for council to showcase and demonstrate how you are using tyre derived material in a circular economy space. So, if you are already doing it, get on board with us because this is a great way to showcase what you're actually doing in your municipality.
To help you with your procurement process, TSA has recently launched its verification program, our eco labelling, that we do with Ernst and Young. And this is a way in which, when you're doing your due diligence, if you're wanting to procure crumb rubber in projects, whether it be through permeable pavements, roads, sports fields, or golf courses, ask for their eco labelling certificate, which we do with EY. So that you have comfort that if you're going to procure crumb rubber, it's only Australian generated crumb rubber and not imported.
And lastly, if you've got a great idea, come and have a chat to us. We've already committed eight million funding towards projects. Porus Lane was a great initiative that we worked together with, with the University of Melbourne and I'd love to hear more from you if you've got some ideas.
Thank you, Lina, it was a great overview of TSA's role and I guess some of the great products in innovation that you've helped support. Of interest to me was that matting underneath the cow. I could use some of that under my son's highchair. Sounds also like an opportunity for a chat around some funding of perhaps some of those partnership projects that have been raised throughout today. We've got a couple of questions, Lina if you're happy to answer those. I'm not sure if they're online, Stella? I'll unmute you. The tiniest button in the world to press to unmute that microphone. There we go.
That sounds better. Thank you very much, Lina. I've had a couple of questions come through for you. The first one is, are the local producers able to meet the quality standards for rubber crumb? Do local producers have enough product available because this has come up at various forums as a potential barrier before.
Thank you. There's an enormous amount of product available. Producing the crumb rubber suitable for roads has never been a problem with many of the organizations that are out there at the moment. There's several organisations and they are producing the crumb rubber now, whether it be for roads, whether it be for other products. I don't see there's a capacity issue at all.
That's great. Thank you. I've got another question here just on imported crumb rubber and whether or not that's cheaper than domestic crumb rubber.
Great question. And yes, it is. It actually lands here about $200 cheaper than it is to purchase locally and the reason why it does so is because many schemes around the world have the ability to subsidise that crumb into Australia. If you think about our scheme, we're 25 cents per passenger tyre, we're voluntary. Many other schemes around the world, particularly where this crumb comes from, they're receiving close to $3, $4, $5 for the equivalent program and they subsidise the movement of their crumb out of their country and into ours.
Interesting answer. Thanks, Lina. I've got another question here, which is just on leaching. Has there been any research into possible leaching of tyre chemicals from the rubber crumb into waterways?
Yeah. Thank you. And we've got a great report on our website at the moment around microplastics, and I'd encourage that person to reach out and have a read of that. One of the things that's proven with tyres is that, in a passenger tyre, you lose about a kilo of that tyre in wear and tear during the use of that tyre. And there is research globally that showcases that that wear, and tear does end up in a whole range of different places, including our waterways. In terms of the crumb rubber to be used in projects such as roads and sports fields and so on, that does not demonstrate that that product leaches into the waterways.
Great. Thank you. And I imagine that information's available on your website as well?
It's available on the website.
Wonderful. Thank you.