Nambucca Shire mayor Rhonda Hoban discovers Roads and Maritime Services are lagging behind

Recycled crushed glass is used in place of sand in roadbuilding
Recycled crushed glass is used in place of sand in roadbuilding

The fallout of the China Sword Policy, the environmental importance of recycling and ongoing pressure from the NSW Government to be ever more thrifty led Nambucca Shire mayor Rhonda Hoban to wonder about what could be done in the area of roadworks.

“I knew that recycled materials were being used in road construction in other places, so I thought I’d see what was happening at the RMS (Roads and Maritime Service) and whether they had information about mixes and blends that could help us,” Rhonda said.

“With the amount of infrastructure being undertaken by the State Government I thought they would be at the cutting edge of this.”

“But to my surprise I was advised that RMS does not use recycled materials … it is very disappointing because they could be leading the way on this.”

Related: Don’t stop recycling

She cited the $47 million support package announced by the Government in response to China's policy to 'help local government and industry response to these global changes'.

The package includes a newly-created Inter-Governmental Taskforce which is was working in partnership with councils and industry to strengthen recycling outcomes across NSW.

The Guardian News also asked Roads and Maritime Services about their use of recycled materials. Their response was as follows:

“Roads and Maritime Services is part of the NSW National Sword Taskforce chaired by the Environmental Protection Agency which is seeking ways to encourage greater use of recycled material.  The Taskforce is engaging with many stakeholders including the road industry to ascertain how to achieve greater recycling.

“Road and Maritime’s specifications already provide for industry to use recycled crushed concrete, crumbed rubber, recycled asphalt and crushed glass in making asphalt.

“Sand from recovered glass is currently being used on Roads and Maritime projects such as the Pacific Highway upgrade between Lisarow and Ourimbah.”

A Google search revealed that in Victoria recycled crushed concrete, crushed brick, glass fines, Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) and crumbed rubber products now commonly supplement traditional virgin aggregate and sand extracted from quarries in pavement construction.

The following information was also included:

The business case for councils to use local recycled products in pavement construction presents the competitiveness of local recycled products as a supplement to traditional quarry materials based on the dimensions of quality, price and availability. Recommendations for councils to procure local recycled products for pavement construction are also provided.

(www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/Government/Waste-and-Resource-recovery/Recycled-materials-in-pavement)

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