Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) together with the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) and Victorian Department of Transport are turning used tyres into a 1.4km road in Bentleigh using various mixes of crumb rubber asphalt. This innovative project aligns with Vic Government’s Recycled First Policy and is another example of how good partnerships are helping turn a tyre waste stream into a resource. This month, TSA reported that asphalt made using crumb rubber from old tyres is being laid on a busy Melbourne road as part of a major new trial. The project is funded by Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA), the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) and the Victorian Department of Transport (DoT).

“Australia generates the equivalent of 56 million used car tyres every year. Around 30% of those end up in landfill or are stockpiled,” CEO of TSA, Lina Goodman said. “Finding innovative and sustainable ways of using old tyres is vital and crumb rubber asphalt roads are the perfect solution to a waste problem,” Ms Goodman said.

Spray seals incorporating crumb rubber is proven technology on country roads in Victoria and in many places overseas. The aim of this project is to increase the opportunity to use crumb rubber asphalt on high traffic roads.

Asphalt from tire-derived crumb rubber made in Melbourne | Video by Tyre Stewardship Australia.

TSA says that the trial is in line with the State Government’s Recycled First policy, which aims to increase the use of recycled materials in construction projects.

“Crumb tyre rubber when added to an asphalt mix, not only assists with the reuse of a waste stream but it actually adds value to the road structure,” ARRB CEO Michael Caltabiano said. “ARRB’s applied research findings show that a crumb rubber asphalt lasts longer, performs better and delivers a better economic outcome for the community.” Mr Caltabiano said.

According to TSA, the asphalt is being laid over the next few nights on a 1.4 km section of East Boundary Rd in Bentleigh East. It is on the southbound carriageway, between Centre Rd and South Rd.

The trial consists of four different crumb rubber asphalt mixes and two asphalt control sections. The equivalent of around 1600 car tyres will be used in the trial. The trial is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia based on the scale of the project and number of mixes trialled at the same time. Lab and field testing will be conducted at regular intervals with a final report due by mid 2022. There will be some minor traffic delays while asphalt is being laid. Traffic control devices and personnel are present to direct traffic and assist residents.

Background on TSA

Tyre Stewardship Australia was formed five years ago to implement the national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme which promotes the development of viable markets for end-of-life tyres. TSA is made up of representative across the tyre supply chain including retailers, manufacturers, recyclers and collectors.

Background on ARRB

The Australian Road Research Board is an independent national transport research organisation. It advises key decision makers on Australia’s most important transport challenges.

Article by Tyre Stewardship Australia.