Crushed glass sand and recycled plastic strips have been combined to form a 'greencrete' which was poured to form a footpath in a Hunter-first trial at Lake Macquarie yesterday.
It's hoped the crushed glass - which was highlighted in a council drainage project at Fishing Point last year - and the recycled plastic could become environmentally sustainable alternatives to regular concrete.
Lake Macquarie City Council crews poured the greencrete along a 30-metre stretch of footpath on Steel Street, in Redhead, with plans to monitor its performance and condition in the coming months.
Council's asset manager Helen Plummer said 50 per cent of the fine aggregate used in greencrete was crushed glass sand, rather than natural sand.
The mix also contained thin polypropylene strips made from 100 per cent recycled plastic, which help reinforce the concrete and replace steel mesh traditionally used in concrete.
“These Australian-made materials close the loop on recycling, providing a practical end use for glass and plastic collected from kerbside recycling bins,” Ms Plummer said.
Council’s trial of crushed glass sand in civil works projects kicked off last June, with tonnes of the material used in underground drainage pits.
Ms Plummer said the Redhead works were the first time in the Hunter it had been used to replace sand for a concrete footpath.
“We’ve conducted extensive testing on the concrete prior to it being poured and it is a case of so far, so good,” Ms Plummer said.
“But we will continue to monitor the footpath in coming months to see how it holds up to everyday wear and tear, and whether it cracks or wears differently to normal concrete.”
More than 5000 tonnes of glass is collected from Lake Macquarie homes for recycling every year.
A portion of this is sent to a processing plant on the Central Coast, where the glass is washed and crushed into a fine, smooth substance, similar in appearance and performance to natural sand.
“Council is committed to exploring new and innovative ways to create a more liveable, sustainable and environmentally friendly City,” Ms Plummer said.
The footpath construction project is part of council’s asset management program, which identified more than 700 metres of new footpath to be installed in Redhead in the 2018/19 financial year.