The humble take-away coffee cup is proving the perfect brew for a revolutionary Australian-first recycling project for sustainable road surfaces being rolled out by Penrith City Council.
The Council has partnered with State Asphalt Services for the resurfacing of 390 metres of Jamison Road at South Penrith, and 350 metres of Swallow Drive in Erskine Park where the PAK-PAVETM road surface will include a mixture containing almost 136,000 coffee cups.
In addition to the cups, the asphalt will include over 1.2 million glass bottles – a mix that has proven successful in the resurfacing of 8.4 kms of pavement throughout the Penrith Local Government Area (LGA).
Mayor, Tricia Hitchen said Council was proud to be leading the way in a move that leads to a more sustainable circular economy and delivers a high-quality road surface for all road users.
“Council has a proven track record when it comes to re-using waste products in innovative ways, and this is yet another way of reducing landfill by giving a waste product new life in an alternative use,” Mayor Hitchen said.
“With over 1,208 km of roads maintained by Penrith City Council, and countless kilometres of state roads in our LGA, we have the opportunity to make our roads far more environmentally friendly through the use of recycled materials.
The asphalt also contains other recycled materials – reclaimed asphalt pavement and steel furnace slag. The total recycled content in the asphalt for the Penrith project is greater than 50%.
“Road users may not notice the subtle differences between PAK-PAVETM and other road surfaces under normal driving conditions apart from it being quieter, however in adverse conditions the new surface is reported to improve braking and wet weather performance,” the Mayor said.
Director of State Asphalts NSW, John Kypreos said he was proud of his team and their collaborating partners, who have worked tirelessly over the past three years to develop PAK-PAVE™ Roads.
“We have enjoyed great support from government at all levels to get to this point and congratulate Penrith Council for being the first to use PAK- PAVE™ Roads,” he said.
Closed Loop Managing Director, Rob Pascoe, was equally enthusiastic.
“The Simply Cups program has saved more than 30 million paper cups such as coffee cups and take-away soft drink cups from landfill since beginning in 2017,” said Mr Pascoe.
“We have explored dozens of practical applications for the cups which contain very high-quality fibre but are challenging to recycle because of their waterproof lining.”
The cups being used in the PAK-PAVETM surface are collected through Simply Cups, an initiative by Closed Loop, with 85% of the paper cups collected for recycling in the Penrith LGA in 2022 being used in these roads. Simply Cups is Australia’s largest paper cups recycling program and uses innovative technology capable of mixing used cups with other materials to produce items of higher value.
To find a collection point, go to https://www.simplycups.com.au/locations.