Tyre Stewardship Australia calls on Queensland to mandate rubberised roads

Image credit: Tyre Stewardship Australia 

Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) is urging Queensland’s government to begin mandating road constructions to use Australian crumb rubber to kickstart the tyre circular economy in Regional Queensland. 

In a blog, the organisation highlighted the opportunity Queensland can tap into in order to pave the way towards having high-performance roads and generating valuable commercial markets that promote local jobs and manufacturing across the state. 

Lina Goodman, CEO of Tyre Stewardship Australia, said putting crumb rubber is a winning circular formula already happening across Australia and it is time for Queensland to follow the suit. 

A report published by the Australian Road Research Board revealed that using crumb rubber instead of polymers to modify bitumen allows for increased flexibility and provides resistance to reflective cracking while avoiding bleeding and instability when high contents of the binder are used. 

Bitumen that used crumb rubber has also been found to show increased durability and elasticity. 

Furthermore, TSA also found that crumb rummer used as 15 to 20 per cent of an asphalt binder in the wet process has a 7 per cent improvement in greenhouse gas emissions compared to an average polymer-modified binder. 

TSA said this figure is even higher when the material is used in other applications like a sprayed seal or permeable pavement. 

About 112,000 tonnes of tyres reach their end-of-life in Queensland per year. This includes tyres from passenger cars, trucks, and off-the-road vehicles used in mines, agriculture, and civil construction. Approximately 60 per cent of this figure is collected and processed by tyre facilities that are mostly located in Queensland’s Southeast region. 

However, the situation is different in regional and remote areas across North and Far North Queensland, where recovery rates are affected by low quantities and large distances. 

“I am urging Local and State Government to step up, mandate Australian crumb rubber in its roads and accept this proven circular economy solution. Industry is ready, educated and waiting to implement without hassle or risk – in fact, we now face the risk of not using this resource available to us,” Goodman said. 

“This simple step by all levels of the Queensland Government will pack a huge punch for the South West and North and Far North Queensland. Given the extensive road network across Queensland, there is a clear path towards a circular economy starting with proactive procurement strategies by government, for the benefit of all Queenslanders,” she added.