Driving sustainable, high-performance infrastructure solutions for the asphalt industry's future

CIES researchers are part of a successful NSW EPA grant of $750,000 recently awarded to State Asphalts NSW and their collaborators in their continuing work addressing Australia’s recycling capability and capacity through developing value-added products to the competitive advantage of the Australian road construction industry.

“Collaboration between cutting-edge university research and industry expertise sets the foundation for the asphalt industry's future,” Associate Professor Ailar Hajimohammadi said. “Together, we develop cost-effective recyclate-derived additives, meeting stringent quality standards, and driving sustainable, high-performance infrastructure solutions.”

NSW generates approximately 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year and only approximately 10% of that is recycled. The remaining 90% ends up in landfill or the natural environment, with a small proportion used to create refuse derived fuel. This represents a significant loss of materials from the productive economy.

The NSW Government has set targets under the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 and the NSW Plastics Action Plan including to triple the recycling rate of plastics by 2030.

The NSW Circular Plastics Program provides grant funding opportunities under the $10 million Circular Materials Fund (CMF).

The CMF was created to support businesses in the transition to better plastic products and increase the recycling rate of plastics in NSW. The objectives of the CMF are to:

  • reduce the amount of virgin plastic used
  • reduce the amount of hard-to-recycle plastics used
  • increase the amount of recycled plastic in products
  • catalyse partnerships between producers, end users and the resource recovery sector.

In Round 1, announced in July 2023, State Asphalts NSW in collaborative partnership with UNSW, PanelCycle and Primaplas was awarded $750,00.

Approximately 7,000 tonnes of combustible cladding in NSW will be destined for landfill after the material was banned in 2018. As this cladding is decommissioned and the aluminium is recovered, the end-markets for the remaining mineral-filled and chemical compounded plastic are very limited.

State Asphalts NSW, in partnership with the University of NSW, PanelCycle and Primaplas will develop state-of-the-art technologies to characterise the remaining materials, process the recyclate and create end markets for 800 tonnes of ACP-derived polyethylene per year. State Asphalts NSW will build a plastics recycling plant to wash, granulate, extrude and pelletise the hard-to-recycle plastics at their Prestons site.

See also https://www.cies.unsw.edu.au/news/unsw-joins-industry-to-develop-technol...

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