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Australia is missing out on benefits of recycled roads – report finds

Recycled content in roads

A new research report by not-for-profit organisation, Standards Australia, shows the nation faces barriers to the uptake of recycled content in roads.

The report also addresses the environmental, economic and performance benefits that would bring the recycled content would bring. Giving a roadmap to address the primary roadblocks while calling on industry and government to form a partnership to make progress.

The Standards to facilitate the use of recycled material in road construction report, developed in collaboration with the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR), found varying specifications between jurisdictions and a lack of nationally known performance-based standards, to be significant barriers to the uptake of recycled content in roads.

Other barriers include gaps in procurement policies and a lack of maturity in some materials markets.


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Standards Australia’s Head of Engagement and Strategic Delivery, Roland Terry-Lloyd, explains the benefits of using recycled content in road construction.

“The benefits include a reduction in environmental impact, improved performance of materials, cost savings, and job creation,” Terry-Lloyd said.

“Standards have a crucial role to play in addressing these barriers and facilitating the transition to a circular economy by establishing common definitions, measurements, and guidelines for industry, government, and consumers.”

To reap the benefits of recycled content in roads, the report recommends increasing collaboration between the Australian Government, Standards Australia and industry to create new standards or modify existing standards; and creating guidance material on the use of recycled materials in road construction, its benefits and the enabling standards to improve awareness and overcome misconceptions.

Chief Executive Officer of ACOR, Suzanne Toumbourou, said that Australia has an abundance of fit-for-purpose, high performance recycled material that can deliver great environmental and social outcomes.

“We have been delighted to work with Standards Australia to navigate the barriers to uptake of recycled materials in roads and explore how standards can support industry to overcome these barriers,” Toumbourou said.

“By working collaboratively together to identify actions to support the use of recycled materials, we can contribute to the circularity of roads and provide a more sustainable future for transportation infrastructure.”

Standards Australia is set to form a committee to inform policy and collaborate with state and federal governments to take action.

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