The suburb of Penrith in Australia’s western Sydney has become the first in the country to use recycled coffee cups in road construction.
The innovative and sustainable asphalt, called Pak-Pave Roads, was developed by State Asphalts NSW in partnership with Closed Loop Environmental Solutions, which operates the Simply Cups paper cup recycling program.
The Pak-Pave Roads seal contain fibres from recycled paper cups that enhance the durability of the seal, creating a quieter and safer surface than regular asphalt, improved durability and crack resistance, wet weather skid resistance, and allows a thinner surfacing of roads.
The pilot project strip of Pak-Pave Roads is on a section of Jamison Road in South Penrith, with a second project scheduled for Swallow Drive in Erskine Park. These two projects will use over 135,000 recycled paper cups, which represents 85 per cent of the paper cups collected for recycling in the Penrith local government area last year.
In addition to recycled paper cups, the roads will use other recycled materials such as glass stubbies, reclaimed asphalt pavement, and steel furnace slag.
The use of recycled materials in road construction reduces the volume of raw materials required, leading to a 24 per cent reduction in the carbon footprint compared with a typical road construction process.
Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen said she was proud the city was leading the way towards a more sustainable circular economy while delivering a high-quality road surface for all road users.
The Simply Cups program has saved more than 30 million paper cups from landfill since its inception in 2017.
Rob Pascoe, Closed Loop MD, said the paving was a fantastic solution because it used such large quantities of recycled coffee cups.