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Waste tyres back on blacktop

New specifications could put old tyres back on the road – but not in the way you think


Waste tyres could be making it back to a road near you soon – but this time, they won’t be attached to vehicles.

Instead, waste tyres could be used in road surfaces after new specifications for Crumbed Rubber Modified (CRM) asphalt were developed recently by the Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA) and Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA).

Based on those used in California and Arizona, the new specifications have been used to develop CRM gap graded asphalt trialled in the Gold Coast in June – the first trials of such asphalt in Australia.

TSA says if the gap graded asphalt and open graded asphalt and for crumbed rubber spray seal make it into production, they could eventually see about 10 per cent of the accessible feedstock for tyre-derived crumb rubber produced in Australia used in domestic road manufacturing.

This would be twice the current use of recycled crumb rubber and equate to the consumption of nearly 4 million end-of life tyres per year.

TSA market development manager Liam O’Keefe says reaching a national standard had been a critical part of increasing the potential market for crumb rubber use in Australian roads.

“To fully realise this potential for that use we must continue to work with industry partners to ensure the delivery of better roads and better environmental outcomes for all,” he says.

“The important next phase of the task is ensuring that the new specifications are used. As utilisation of the new specifications grows, so too will the benefits to the end- of-life tyre industry.”

Both the TSA and the AAPA will be delivering a series of technology talks to state and local authority roads bodies, road engineers and contractors in the coming months with the aim of increasing understanding – and uptake – of the products.

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