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Byron Shire
March 27, 2023

Lismore paves its roads with glass

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Working on-site at Numulgi laying the first road containing glass sand are (l-r) Ian Collins, Warren Watts, Coady Capello and Peter Brewer-Charles. Photo supplied
Working on-site at Numulgi laying the first road containing glass sand are (l-r) Ian Collins, Warren Watts, Coady Capello and Peter Brewer-Charles. Photo supplied

Another milestone in Lismore’s recycling history has been reached with Lismore City Council building its first road paved with glass.

The 500-metre section near Numulgi Hall has been reconstructed using glass sand from the Glass Processing Plant built in May ,2014.

Rural works supervisor Peter Brewer-Charles said council would be using the glass sand in all road base from this point forward.

‘It’s a consistent product with good compaction results,’ Mr Brewer-Charles said.

‘Now that the system of adding the glass sand to the road base is working smoothly, the real test will be can people recycle enough for us to keep putting on the roads.’

Since the recent establishment of council’s glass processing plant, all old glass, crockery and pyrex collected from yellow-lidded recycling bins has been crushed into sand and stockpiled, ready for use in road base.

The glass to sand concept had some teething problems, as the product needed rigorous testing to ensure there were no WHS risks to staff due to the glass sand’s silica content.

Blakebrook Quarry quality assurance supervisor Jon Rigley said ‘We needed to make sure the product was 100 per cent safe to use and that our staff were well-equipped and educated to feel safe and secure using this new product’.

‘There has been an enormous effort by all the staff at the quarry, and in particular the boys in the laboratory, to ensure this idea could get up,’ Mr Rigley said.

‘Most people think we drive around out here in big trucks, but a lot of our time is spent in the lab, meticulously testing our product to ensure safety for staff and for residents.

‘This has been a mammoth effort across several Council departments including the quarry, the recycling team and the roads crew. It’s a phenomenal result for our community.’

Conventional glass recycling is costly and requires significant technology to separate different coloured glass for re-processing, with a high loss rate due to breakage.

As well as ensuring more glass can be recycled, transforming glass back into sand reduces the need to mine virgin material for road base and asphalt, decreasing road resealing costs and limiting truck movements on the road.

Council’s executive director of infrastructure services Gary Murphy said ‘This is a revolution in how we construct roads and we have received excellent feedback from the community right from the beginning for this concept, which saves everyone money and is good for the environment’.

‘It’s great to see it is now a reality and that we have closed the loop on our glass recycling in Lismore. That’s something to be very proud of,’ Mr Murphy said.

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  1. Brilliant – well done to all concerned. Now if we bring in deposits on glass bottles there will be many more to recycle.

  2. Sounds like a good idea but what assurances are in place to ensure that silica will not leach from the material over time? Silica ingested or inhaled is known to cause health problems.


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