29 July 2020
Australia’s largest trial of asphalt produced from recycled tyres across six Adelaide council areas is set to pay dividends for the environment and the South Australian jobs market, paving the way for a new asphalt manufacturing facility worth around $5 million in Lonsdale.
Adelaide-based Topcoat Asphalt expects to significantly boost local production of crumb rubber asphalt using waste tyres following the trial, funded by Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA), with support from Tyrecycle Australia.
Topcoat General Manager, Mr Kelly Manning said the trial marked the start of significant investment in both sustainable and innovative asphalt manufacturing technology at its Wingfield operations ahead of additional investment in manufacturing capability.
“At a time where many South Australians are experiencing job uncertainty, Topcoat is pleased to be investing in the S.A economy with state of the art technology and an additional manufacturing facility which will boost workforce numbers and benefit the circular economy.” Mr Manning said.
The trial across stretches of road in the cities of Mitcham, Onkaparinga, Port Adelaide/Enfield, Campbelltown, West Torrens and Salisbury tests the crumb rubber mix first used in California for South Australian conditions, ready for widespread use across metropolitan and country roads.
“This trial is the largest one of its type conducted so far in Australia and we are hopeful that this will lead to a significant improvement of the recycling rate of used tyres,” said the CEO of TSA, Lina Goodman.
Tyre Stewardship Australia is a voluntary scheme comprised of tyre retailers, manufacturers, auto-brands, recyclers and collectors which aims to manage the tyre life cycle and reduce waste.
While the equivalent of 29 million passenger tyres in Australia are upcycled, recycled or processed locally for roads, playgrounds, polymers and fuels, the equivalent to 27 million passenger tyres end up in landfill, stockpiles or are exported overseas.
The Topcoat trial uses the equivalent of around 3,400 passenger vehicle tyres or more than 20,000 kilograms of crumb rubber collected in South Australia.
Currently, although Tyrecycle Australia collects 4200 tonnes of truck tyre from South Australia each year, only around 6 per cent of this material is reused here with most used in Victoria and NSW. Tyrecycle Australia spokesperson said the trial showed the real impact councils could have on the circular economy whilst saving money for ratepayers over the life of the road – through improved road performance and reduced maintenance schedules.
“Right now, whilst the economy is grappling with how we recover from the Covid-19 crisis, Australia is looking for more solutions to be homegrown. This type of project ticks this box and has the capability to drive increased employment, investment and sustainable solutions into the communities around us,” he said.