New roads from old concrete

Roads built with recycled material are a concrete reality for Western Australia, thanks to the determination of local company Waste Stream Management, and the support of Kwinana Town Council. The old Thomas Road landfill site has become a success story, for Kwinana and Western Australia.

It now makes a major contribution to Council finances, and could help pay for new community facilities, such as the projected indoor swimming pool.

There are the environment benefits as well. The recycling plant converts demolition concrete into road base diverting rubbish from landfill to new roads.

In 1995, Kwinana faced a $1 million bill to clay line its landfill. Instead, Council decided to send its general waste elsewhere and convert the tip to an inert landfill site. Asking for expressions of interest to operate the site, Council put strong emphasis on the promotion of recycling.

Waste Stream Management was chosen to operate the site. Demolition and building waste makes up about half of all landfill in the Perth metropolis. Waste Stream attracts a large proportion of that waste, and has a strong commitment to recycling as much as possible into useable products.

Since commencing at the Thomas Road site in 1997, the Company has stockpiled clean concrete for eventual use in road building. It has also recycled steel, aluminium and top soil whenever possible.

In October, Waste Stream announced that the road base has met the Main Roads WA quality levels for road base, to laboratory standards. Final testing by Main Roads is now under way.

Kwinana will also play a vital role in future testing. The Town will receive 1,500 tonnes of free material to build a test road. Council engineers will monitor this site in collaboration with Main Roads for some years.

"We have capacity to process millions of tonnes of concrete each year," said Waste Stream CEO Mike Bobrowicz. "As throughput grows, so do the royalties paid to the Town of Kwinana."

Mayor John Slinger said that Kwinana is acknowledged as a leading Council in waste management and recycling.

"The successful conversion of the tip from a liability to an income earner shows what the 'partnership' approach can achieve," he said.

"The whole project is a major advance for recycling in WA, and justifies Council's faith in it.

"From our original insistence on recycling as an integral element at Thomas Road, through helping with approvals to lease and sub lease the site to ensure long term tenure, Council has demonstrated that industry and community can work together for the wider benefit of all."

For further information contact Vic Waters, Public Relations Officer, telephone (08) 9419 2222.