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Turning Old Tyres into New Roads

Only five percent of tyres are recycled locally in Australia. Picture: Boomerang

Only five percent of tyres are recycled locally in Australia. Picture: Boomerang Alliance

By Holly Bennet, University of Melbourne

With millions of tyres dumped in Australia, a new innovation could turn used tyres into permeable surfaces - helping the environment and our future infrastructure

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

A staggering 51 million used tyres are discarded annually in Australia, causing environmental and health problems like the sea of stockpiled tyres in Stawell in western Victoria.

Only five per cent of used tyres are recycled locally in Australia, but researchers from the University of Melbourne have teamed up with Tyre Stewardship Australia and Merlin Site Services to come up with an innovative way to reuse the rubber.

Project technical lead, Dr Mahdi Disfani from the Melbourne School of Engineering, has spent the last 18 months working on a pilot project with his colleauges Associate Professor Lu Aye, Dr Guillermo Narsilio and Dr Alireza Mohammadinia, that increases the number of uses for permeable pavements made from recycled tyres.

“While there are a number of recycling solutions for tyres, like using them in children’s playgrounds, in landscaping or in asphalt layers, but the applications for high volume are limited,” says Dr Disfani.

“Roads and pavements are everywhere. With the right product, we could have a serious impact on reducing the number of tyres that end up in landfills, stockpiles or illegal dumps.”

Permeable pavements made out of recycled tyres are already a popular paving option that is flexible and resilient.

As opposed to conventional asphalt paving, permeable paving allows water to pass through the surface,...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.