Recycled plastic is being used for the first time in Victoria to reinforce a bike trail.
Hobsons Bay City has switched out the usual steel mesh and instead is using polypropylene fibre to reinforce the concrete used to upgrade the Skeleton Creek Trail at Seabrook.
The product, called Emesh, is 100 per cent recycled from waste such as drink bottles and although being used successfully for other purposes, this 80 metre trial is a first.
Hobsons Bay Mayor, Cr Angela Altair said the plastic fibres would likely otherwise end up in landfill.
“These fibres, which are mixed in with concrete, replace the need for traditional steel reinforcement and are perfect for salty and coastal environments like ours,”
“Installing the Emesh product on the path has saved more than 108kg of waste from going to landfill and has avoided the use of 807kg of steel.
”The recycled plastic alternative has also reduced carbon emissions by almost 2,500kgs as less energy is consumed during its production compared to the production of steel.”
Cr Altair said the product offers three-dimensional reinforcement as it runs throughout the concrete, instead of using a singular layer of steel.
“It also enables greater flexibility in design, such as curved paths and trails, therefore also avoiding waste generated by steel cut offs,” said Cr Altair.
“The product is a great option. It is the same cost as steel and has the added benefit of introducing the significant environmental savings that our community is asking for.”
The council will monitor the performance of the 80 metre section to assess its suitability to reducing the environmental footprint of future projects.
The Skeleton Creek Trail project involves upgrading the existing gravel track between Labassa Way and South Terrace to a three metre wide accessible path.
These works include the trial of Emesh. Further works on the trail involve the new path continuing from Bowood Court around to Clarendon Court.
The project will also realign the trail to reduce susceptibility to flooding.