KERBSIDE recycling could soon pave south-west roads with a Warrnambool business investing in upgrades to use crushed glass and plastics in asphalt.
Fulton Hogan received a $102,500 Sustainability Victoria grant for upgrades to its Warrnambool plant to crush 5000 tonnes of glass and plastics into sand for use in roads and footpaths.
The company hopes to collect glass from the region's councils, some of which have flagged plans to separate glass in kerbside recycling.
Fulton Hogan Warrnambool manager Sam Allan said the glass and waste products would otherwise go to recycling processors or landfill, but could be reused in the south-west.
"We see the support as an opportunity for local people to take responsibility for our current waste issue," Mr Allan said. "We will also have capacity to receive waste glass from the commercial market."
He said the facility upgrades required planning approval from Warrnambool City Council, while the company needed to show the asphalt products met VicRoads and local council road specifications.
"We've got a whole heap of hurdles to jump through," Mr Allan said. "Apart from the obvious environmental benefits of reducing waste in the Warrnambool area, there are also economic benefits as the labour will be sourced locally."
He said the multinational's 35 Warrnambool employees could increase following the upgrade. The government grant will also be matched by Fulton Hogan and works must be completed by March 2021.
A recycling crisis has hit Victorian councils twice this year, with the Moyne and Glenelg shires forced to send kerbside pickups to landfill after processor SKM collapsed in July.
Councils have flagged broken glass contaminating recycling as one contributor to the crisis, and Moyne Shire from next month will trial a fourth bin for glass at Koroit.
The council has committed to use the glass for road making, but is yet to specify how. A Moyne spokeswoman said negotiations of a glass contract were "currently underway".
Warrnambool City Council is also considering glass separation in options canvassed for community feedback in July.
A city council spokesman said the council was in talks with the waste and construction industries about how to avoid materials going to landfill.
"Council is very interested in local innovation in this space," he said.
The spokesman added it was unlikely the council would receive payment for glass.
"Council will shortly be tendering its recycling processing contract at which time companies such as Fulton Hogan would have the opportunity to tender for the glass processing," he said.
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