Energy & Environment

Tasmania builds first road out of recycled glass bottles, plastic bags

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An Australian state built its first road made out of recycled glass bottles and plastic bags, ABC News Australia reported this week.

The section of a road outside Hobart, Tasmania, an island state off the southern coast of Australia, incorporated an estimated 530,000 plastic bags, 168,000 glass bottle equivalents and toner from 12,500 cartridges in each kilometer, ABC reported.

Kingborough councillor Richard Atkinson said the local council authorized the project in an effort to reduce its impact on the environment.

{mosads}”If you work out how much single-use plastic is in this 500 metres of road, it’s about equivalent of two years of single-use plastic collected from Kingborough,” Atkinson told the outlet. ”If it’s successful we’ll continue to use it for all the rest of our roads.”

The project is cost-effective for the council overall, Atkinson said. He said the asphalt made out of recycled materials is more expensive initially, but will last 15 percent longer than traditional asphalt.

Stuart Billing, a general manager at Downer construction company, said single-use glass is crushed down to a sand-like texture and incorporated into the mix.

“We’re able to take what would ordinarily end up in landfill or potentially contaminating our environment and we’re actually able to make use of them,” Billing told the outlet.

The additive made of recycled bottles and plastic was developed by a company called Close the Loop Australia.

General manager Nerida Mortlock called it a “game changer.”

“Soft plastics don’t disintegrate well in land fill,” Mortlock said. “What happens here is it’s melted down into an additive. There’s no micro plastics, there’s no pollution problems whatsoever.”

“If all councils get on board we can actually make a difference in Australia,” she added.

The news comes amid an international push to do away with plastic products, especially straws. 

Several major chains and restaurants, including Starbucks, The Walt Disney Co. and McDonald’s have also announced that they will ban plastic straws. 

Seattle became the first major city to ban plastic straws and utensils in July.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May also announced a nationwide ban on the products in an effort to eliminate plastic waste by 2042.

Tags Australia Australia ban on plastic straws Environment plastic bags Recycling Tasmania

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