Paving the way

Sustainable City At Work

What’s old is new again, with Australia’s first fully recycled road being laid in Adelaide city’s south west.

The new road laid on Chatham Street is made entirely from reclaimed asphalt pavement from nearby streets and recycled vegetable oil from local suppliers.

Not only is the new road better for the environment, it’s also 25 per cent stronger than standard asphalt resulting in a longer lasting road. The strong economic case for recycled roads has not gone unnoticed, with many councils across the country trialing new technologies. The City of Adelaide is the first to achieve a 100 per cent recycled road made completely from renewable materials after a push from Council in 2018.

Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor expects the success of this demonstration would pave the way for more recycled roads throughout the city.

“It’s innovative, it’s cost-effective as it can be done at around the same cost as the standard process, and, as we’re recycling our own materials, it’s just great news for the environment."
City of Adelaide Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor

The road was delivered in partnership with Downer who process the asphalt at their plant in Wingfield. The processing involves state-of-the-art machinery and careful testing which equate to a more sustainable solution.

Downer’s General Manager – Pavements, Stuart Billing, said the recycled road can reduce CO2e emissions from production by up to 65 per cent compared to standard asphalt made with virgin materials.

Chatham Street isn’t a one-off exercise either, with other local streets also undergoing an eco-makeover. Little Sturt Street and Little Gilbert Street will be resurfaced with different mixes including 63,158 plastic bags, 2,353 glass bottles and toner from more than 2,880 cartridges, which were originally destined for landfill.

These demonstrations mark the start of an exciting exploration into better ways to utilise renewable materials, and to create a greener and more liveable city.

Article by

Georgie Smith

Georgie Smith

Maker and curator of things

Georgie has been BFFs with Adelaide her whole life. They’ve shared many special moments: over cheese platters at art exhibitions, cycling through the park lands and immersed in sequin-clad theatre shows.