A new method for replacing steel mesh used in concrete reinforcement with recycled plastic has seen Queensland engineering firm Fibercon recycle over 50 tonnes of plastic waste.
Developed in conjunction with researchers from Queensland’s James Cook University, the technology uses recycled polypropylene plastic for reinforcing concrete instead of the traditional steel, resulting in reduced CO2 emissions, water usage and fossil fuels.
Since its first use in 2017, the technology incorporated into Fibercon’s Emesh product has been used by councils, predominantly in footpaths, but also has applications from pavement concrete to channel drains, embankment erosion control, precast sewer and stormwater pits.
According to a report prepared for the Department of Environment & Energy in 2016, Australia averages 107kg of plastic waste per person each year.
By using the recycled plastic technology, Fibercon has also seen a reduction to date of 1,000 tonnes of CO2, 200 tonnes of fossil fuel reduction, and 18,000m3 of water reduction.