Construction material created from new recycling plant

by | May 31, 2024

 

Image: crdc.global

A new soft plastics and e-waste recycling facility in Melbourne is specifically designed to create environmentally friendly building and construction material.

Image: crdc.global

The $2.5-million recycling CDRC Global was developed to reduce e-waste in household rubbish and landfill, while also creating an environmentally friendly building product called RESIN8, the Urban Developer has reported.

In an Australian first, the soft and hard plastics are processed into RESIN8 to be used as part of concrete, masonry bricks, blocks, pavers and asphalt. Thermal properties also give the product insulation advantages over popular materials on the market.

At full capacity the facility is expected process about 6650 tonnes of hard and soft plastics, or 330 garbage trucks full, from which 8300 tonnes of RESIN8 is produced. 

Image: crdc.global

The Hobsons Bay Council is currently trialling RESIN8 for a shire road project, with 1350 kilograms of soft plastics being converted into asphalt. The product was also trialled for a highway project in Costa Rica.

The Victorian Government has allocated $500,000 in funding for RESIN8 as part of a larger $16.5 million commitment to find ways to recycle e-waste. The state aims to divert 80 per cent of waste from landfill by 2030.

The new project will now provide a way for developers and builders to access energy-efficient and cheaper materials for construction work, which is a welcome relief under current economic conditions.

Nominated council drop-off points or local transfer stations will accept e-waste, while the facility will also make use of soft plastics collected as part of the now-defunct RED Cycle program. 

More recently, Australian engineers have gone on to invent energy-efficient bricks made only from scrap materials which are often found in landfill. RMIT University engineers developed the product after collaborating with Visy—Australia’s largest recycling company— to develop bricks containing a minimum of 15 per cent waste glass and 20 per cent combusted solid waste, according to the Urban Developer.

Tests confirm that when used in a single-story building the bricks can reduce energy bills by up to five per cent by delivering improved insulation.

Team leader of the energy-efficient brick development, Associate Professor Dilan Robert said about 1.4 trillion bricks are used in construction globally each year.

“Business-as-usual brick production produces harmful emissions, including carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and chlorine, and puts a serious strain on our natural resources, particularly clay,” Professor Robert said.

The ground-breaking research was recently published in the international journal, Construction and Building Materials.