Magnetic Island walkway protected against salt corrosion*
A world first Australian product – Emesh – was used by the Townsville City Council to reinforce 3,500 square metres of combined pathway on Magnetic Island.
Developed by Queensland engineering firm Fibercon, in conjunction with researchers from James Cook University, Emesh uses recycled polypropylene plastic instead of the traditional steel mesh to reinforce concrete in pathways and other infrastructure.
The Magnetic Island pathway connects the X Base Resort, to Nelly Bay, and is located adjacent to the beach - subjected to a continuously high salt environment.
With polymer joints and dowels the pavement has no elements that can corrode – resulting in significantly lower maintenance and whole of life costs.
Senior Project Manager for Townsville City Council, Bob Hickey, explained, “There are the environmental benefits that come with the use of recycled plastic, but also the fact that it is easy to transport the fibres, especially to Magnetic Island.
“There are also no problems with corrosion in the saltwater environment. The result was an excellent product with no visible uncontrolled cracking.”
Fibercon chief executive officer, Mark Combe, said, “Recycling is not just putting materials in a recycling bin at the kerbside: collection is only the start of the process.
“Markets must exist for recyclable materials and buyers must be found for products made with recyclable materials. With China drastically reducing its import of waste in 2017, finding new uses for recycled plastics is more important than ever.”
Since its development in 2015, the use of Emesh for reinforcement instead of steel, has achieved the following environmental milestones:
- 70 tons of plastic reused – equivalent to the annual plastic waste for 674 Australians
- 1750 tons of CO2 reduction – equivalent to the annual CO2 output for 374 cars
- 32670 cubic metres water saved and
- 350 tons fossil fuels saved
*Copy supplied by Fibercon