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Downer set to transform road waste into dollars

More than 21,000 tonnes of the waste hitting Sydney streets each year is set to be turned into sellable products, following the opening of a new detritus facility in Sydney’s Western Suburbs. 

Operated by road infrastructure company Downer, the Rosehill detritus processing facility will take waste streams such as street sweepings and stormwater and convert it into usable materials like organic matter, sand, gravel, metals and plastic.

The plant received funding through the NSW government’s Recycling Innovation Fund, part of the Waste Less Recycle More initiative.

About 85 per cent of what goes through the plant will find a new use, according to Downer executive general manager road services Dante Cremasco. 

“The facility is about pulling product, not pushing waste, as these products can be utilised in compost, asphalt for roads that Downer builds and building materials,” Mr Cremasco said.  

Downer last month revealed it had created a high-performance asphalt from plastic and glass waste, which it is trialling in Melbourne, together with Hume City Council, Close the Loop and RED Group. 

About 200,000 plastic bags, packaging waste and 63,000 glass bottles, toner from more than 4500 used printer cartridges and 50 tonnes of recycled asphalt has been used to create 250 tonnes of asphalt for trial in and around Rayfield Avenue in Melbourne’s Craigieburn.

The “plastic and glass modified asphalt”, which contains 25 per cent recycled content, not only removes waste streams from landfill, it is also leading to a better performing and cheaper road solution. 

“What is also pleasing to see is that this sustainable, cost-competitive road has a 65 per cent improvement in fatigue life and a superior resistance to deformation making the road last longer, and allowing it to better handle heavy vehicle traffic,” Mr Cremasco said.

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