John Holland and Plastic Police® collaborate on Australia-first sustainability initiative.
Date: 3 July 2020
Soft plastics collected on this Central Coast infrastructure project have been recycled into roads for the same project in an Australia-first sustainability initiative.
During the construction of Transport for NSW’s New Intercity Fleet Maintenance Facility in Kangy Angy, John Holland employees source-separated soft plastics for recycling through Plastic Police®, including pallet wrap, bubble wrap, product packaging and office-generated soft plastics.
During the project, approximately 250kg of soft plastics were diverted from landfill, which is the equivalent of 60,000 plastic bags. The material was consolidated onsite using a Mil-tek baler to reduce collection frequencies, resulting in cost savings and reduced carbon emissions.
The Maintenance Facility project site is the first construction site to fully implement the Plastic Police® recycling and engagement program and the first in Australia to procure Reconophalt asphalt on the same project to offset and close the loop on the soft plastics generated onsite.
John Holland laid 1,062 tonnes of Reconophalt asphalt at the site. Reconophalt is an innovative and sustainable asphalt pavement manufactured by Downer containing a high percentage of recycled materials. Every kilometre of a two-lane road made with Reconophalt contains the equivalent of 530,000 soft plastic bags and packaging, 168,000 glass bottles, waste toner from 12,500 printer cartridges and approximately 20% reclaimed pavement.
TonerPlas™ is the key ingredient of Reconophalt. Made using post-consumer soft plastics and toner, this specially formulated asphalt additive made by Close the Loop results in high performance roads that last longer and require less maintenance than traditional asphalt. This leads to a reduced whole of life cost and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
John Holland’s commitment to procuring Reconophalt saw them submit a design change with Transport for NSW to approve the use of Reconophalt on the project.
Reconophalt has full approval from the NSW EPA, demonstrating it brings no increased environmental risk while providing considerable sustainability and performance benefits.
John Holland received an innovation credit as part of its Infrastructure Sustainability Council Australia (ISCA) IS Rating for an Australia-first initiative.
Lexi Crouch, Sustainability Project Officer for Plastic Police®, said, “We are excited to be collaborating with Transport for NSW, John Holland, Downer and Close the Loop on this sustainability initiative at the forefront of the circular economy in the construction industry.”
“This project has set a new standard for the industry and I am excited to see more infrastructure organisations taking the next step from simply landfill diversion to innovative reuse and repurposing onsite.” Lexi said.
Plastic Police® is an innovative recycling and engagement program tackling the environmental issue of soft plastic waste. Plastic Police® collaborates with businesses, councils and infrastructure projects to capture and divert soft plastics from landfill for recycling into products, including asphalt and furniture, which are purchased by participants to ‘close the loop’ on what is collected.
The program was implemented by John Holland to address the environmental concern of soft plastics ending up in landfill or in the environment and oceans as litter.
Better waste avoidance and recycling can provide benefits such as saving money, water and energy; avoiding greenhouse gas emissions and pollution; conserving finite resources; and generating new opportunities and jobs. The Plastic Police® program achieves all these benefits.
As the contractors on the first construction site to implement this closed-loop sustainability initiative, John Holland is demonstrating its commitment to mitigating negative environment impacts and achieving greater landfill diversion through innovation, collaboration and engagement.
This marks the beginning of an industry-wide shift towards circular economy opportunities. Plastic Police® is currently in discussion with several NSW infrastructure projects wishing to implement a program that delivers enhanced project outcomes and can assist in achieving the National 2025 Packaging targets.