CIES sustainable materials research becomes an industry cover story
Professor Nasser Khalili’s work with Associate Professor Ailar Hajimohammadi and Dr Babak Shahbodaghkhan and industry partners State Asphalts NSW on recycling plastic and paperboard waste to develop value-added asphalt has recently featured as the cover story in Roads & Infrastructure Australia magazine.
As RIA Editor Tom O’Keane noted in the magazine editorial, the Australian construction industry is the second largest contributor to national waste, generating 12.7 million tonnes per annum. It is therefore very important, he said, that the industry establish suitable infrastructure and innovations to establish a circular economy for recycling and reuse, to achieve its 80 per cent waste recovery rate target by 2030 set by the Federal Government.
But as O’Keane noted, ‘it's not all doom and gloom, far from it…. many companies across our sector have already taken a proactive approach. State Asphalts NSW's methodology to developing alternative uses for end-of-life waste products has helped to forge new partnerships between private industry, universities and government.
‘The company has produced an innovative additive for asphalt that has been manufactured by incorporating recycled paper and plastic waste. State Asphalts NSW's recycling efforts has created a path for the wider development of waste polyethylene and polypropylene for bitumen modification.’
As part of the project UNSW CIES researchers collaborated to evaluate and test the materials and develop a process through its geotechnical laboratories and equipment. ‘Professor Nasser Khalili, Associate Professor Ailar Hajimohammadi and Dr Babak Shahbodagh-Khan are regarded as leading researchers in this field,’ the article states.
Professor Khalili told RIA Magazine that he’s proud of UNSW's contributions to the project and to society. ''I'm really excited about how effective the technology can be in absorbing plastic waste and adding value to our asphalt industry,’ he said. ‘(This project) is providing an opportunity to solve one of the major environmental concerns to society and the public at large.”
For more of this story see Roads & Infrastructure Australia magazine.