An innovative new way of creating asphalt has councils, environmentalists and manufacturers excited about the possibilities of recycled inventions that are proving to lower CO2 emissions.
The relatively new concept, a product of manufacturing company Downer EDI Limited, with Victorian surfacing manager George Hatzimanolis at the forefront, in conjunction with Close the Loop and Planet Ark, has found bodies in old cartridges and ink toner improve the properties of asphalt, which can sustainably create new roads.
“We’ve been working quite a long time in terms of lowering our CO2 emissions through the manufacture and placement of asphalt; the goal was to reduce our reliance on natural resources as much as possible and have less detrimental effect on the environment whilst maintaining our road network for future use,” Hatzimanolis told Neos Kosmos.
“The toner which encapsulates the ink, we found through research with Close the Loop, has a very high end use to improve the properties of asphalt and we were able to kick off a partnership there and utilise recycled toner to improve the properties of asphalt, which actually reduces our reliance on using virgin materials.”
Whilst the invention hasn’t completely cut the reliance on natural materials, it has drastically reduced the need to do so, saving time, money and the environment.
And with environmental consciousness at the forefront of most contemporary policies and ethics, the development has been embraced by local governments and councils, which Hatzimanolis says is just as sustainable as original content – with an estimated lifespan lasting 15 to 20 years.
“From all the performance testing that we’ve done there’s been no detriment to any of the performance characteristics – if anything there’s actually been an improvement on some performance parameters, so the expected life is equivalent or better than utilising virgin or traditional asphalts.”
“By reusing materials that are at the end of their product life and effectively waste materials that would otherwise end up in landfill, we’ve been able to reduce our costs rather than having a reliance on excavating raw material.”
“The data that we’ve had provided from third parties who are professional environmental consultants suggested a 20 to 25 per cent reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions through the use or our low CO2 asphalt range.”
Inspired by the new technology, Hatzimanolis says he and Downer are continuously testing new possibilities, presented through the use of recyclable products, to save landfill, the environment, time and costs.