Yoghurt pots, margarine tubs help resurface New Plymouth road in NZ-first recycling trial

It's hoped an inner-city New Plymouth road could pave the way for New Zealand in reducing household waste.

The 90-metre stretch of road on Liardet Street has been sealed in 500 kilograms of recycled yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and other plastic waste.

NPDC, EnviroNZ, Road Science and Downer have partnered to test the new material, called Plas Mix, on a section of the road leading up to Pukekura Park.

New Plymouth Council says it's the first time the technique has been used to reseal a residential road in New Zealand, and it's believed the plastics mixed with normal asphalt could be stronger and last longer than what's currently being used.

Council infrastructure manager David Langford says, "yoghurt pots, margarine tubs - those kinds of things - they've all been shredded up, mixed in with the asphalt and we've got 500kgs of plastic in this piece of road now. To put that into some context that's kind of about 83,000 yoghurt pots.

"After China stopped accepting the world’s recycling we found it increasingly difficult to sell our 3-7 plastics. Instead of stockpiling or landfilling these plastics, we took this as an opportunity to innovate and come up with a better solution, which is where the idea to put it into asphalt came from."

Previously, plastics were exported more than 10,000km away to be recycled overseas, but for this trial the plastic has only travelled about 10-15km from where it was picked up at the kerbside, Mr Langford says.

"If this proves successful, there’s the potential to reuse a big portion of our region’s residential waste plastics locally here in Taranaki. That will be much more sustainable in the long-run, saving our ratepayers money and cutting our carbon footprint as well as taking a huge step towards us becoming a zero waste district."

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Christchurch infrastructure company Fulton Hogan came up with the innovative concept four years ago. Source: 1 NEWS

The trial is expected to take six months and, if successful, could significantly reduce the region's waste.

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A 90-metre stretch of road in the inner-city has been sealed in 500 kilograms of plastic waste in what’s believed to be a New Zealand first. Source: Breakfast