With 1 billion plastic water bottles purchased every year, Australian’s are creating 660,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually (1). Geofabrics is paving the way to prevent these bottles from polluting our waterways or ending up in landfill - with the launch of a sustainable road surfacing solution. This new technology, Sealmac® Green is a 100% Australian made nonwoven paving fabric, made from recycled plastics thus reducing waste to landfill and strengthening Australia’s recycling supply chain.
For over thirty years nonwoven needle-punched geotextiles have been used in Australia as paving fabrics to seal pavements and waterproof the overlay. The Australian road system comprises some 810,000 km of roads, of which 330,000 km are surfaced with sprayed seals, asphalt, or concrete (2). These roads are essential to our economy and without adequate maintenance, paved roads deteriorate rapidly. In Australia, the escalating cost and demand for paved roads rehabilitation, coupled with Australia’s recycling crisis accentuates the need for smarter, stronger, more sustainable and cost-effective paving solutions.
Traditional road paving fabrics are made from unsustainable virgin materials. Sealmac® Green is the only Australian made recycled alternative, anticipated to replace up to 1,000 tonnes of offshore sourced polymer with Australian sourced recycled plastics. Sealmac® Green is more environmentally sound than any other paving fabric in Australia, as it keeps plastic bottles out of the landfill and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
Dennis Grech, Managing Director & CEO of Geofabrics Australasia states “Using waste plastic that was otherwise destined for a landfill will not only reduce the cost of road repair and construction but also increase the strength and durability of our roads. Geofabric’s mission is to provide smarter infrastructure solutions for our clients, and by using this new technology we can also revolutionise the way we look at recycled plastic.”
Further, “From July 2021, state and federal governments will prohibit the export of plastic waste materials, with the goal of building Australia’s capacity to take responsibility for waste and use our own resources to create jobs, spark innovation, and deliver strong environmental outcomes. At Geofabrics, as Australia’s only manufacturer of geosynthetic products that builds our nation’s roads, rail, landfill and mining infrastructure, I commit our business to continue to present innovative, green solutions to our customers that support our governments desire to promote the use of recycled materials in building Australia’s infrastructure.”
Sealmac® has been widely utilised in the maintenance and rehabilitation of pavement surfacing in both Australia and New Zealand. It is Australia’s first and only Australian manufactured paving fabric utilising recycled plastics.
(1) ABC War on Waste (2018)
(2) Austroads (2005)