Austroads update on research into road-grade recycled plastic

Austroads has published a report examining the most suitable types of plastics for inclusion in asphalt pavements.

With plastic consumption rising, and more plastics in waste streams, the organisation says there is a growing interest in exploring the viability of using recycled plastics in road construction.

The report, Use of Road-grade Recycled Plastics for Sustainable Asphalt Pavements: Overview of the Recycled Plastic Industry and Recycled Plastic Types, examines recycling processes, the price of recycled plastics, annual production volumes, and infrastructure capabilities.

Austroads Transport Infrastructure Program Manager Ross Guppy says the content was informed by interviews with members of the plastics industry including associations, local councils, material recovery facilities, plastic recyclers, and manufacturers.

“This is the first report from a project which is examining the use of road-grade recycled plastics in asphalt pavements.”

“The project is investigating the most suitable types of plastics and will develop new tests and methods to ascertain if their addition into asphalt could produce detrimental effects for the environment, the health and safety of the workers, or impact the future recyclability of plastic-modified asphalt,” Mr Guppy said.

 In addition, Austroads is undertaking work that will provide certainty to road managers about the use of more and new waste materials into roads and transport infrastructure.

This work aligns with the National Plastics Plan and CSIRO’s Circular economy roadmap for plastics, glass, paper, and tyres.