Fulton Hogan’s PlastiPhalt® – the circular economy in action

It’s filled with plastic but it’s good for the environment. It shows how the future might look, but it doesn’t actually look very different.

“It” is a major lay of PlastiPhalt®, the Fulton Hogan-developed proprietary asphalt made with recycled plastic, at Auckland Airport.

New Zealand CEO Graeme Johnson says PlastiPhalt® is an important part of Fulton Hogan’s sustainability push. It’s a company-wide team effort, involving five years of R+D at the Fulton Hogan Laboratories under National Products Manager Clare Dring, Fulton Hogan’s Recovering Oil Saves the Environment (R.O.S.E.) scheme, the team behind the inaugural PlastiPhalt® lay at Christchurch International Airport and, now, the on-the-ground team at Auckland Airport.

“It’s the ‘circular economy’ in action – taking a waste stream through to an environmentally beneficial product to build infrastructure of critical value to New Zealand,” Graeme says.

PlastiPhalt® is made with the polymers from recycled plastic oil containers collected as part of our recovery of around 2.5 million litres of used oil each year through the R.O.S.E. scheme. The Auckland Airport lay contains the plastic from almost 70,000 containers.

In high load areas bitumen needs to have a polymer chemically bonded within it for strength – the oil containers provide this, directly substituting for imported polymers.

PlastiPhalt® is currently limited to Auckland and Christchurch because of the nature of the production process, requiring close proximity of the bitumen plant and the source of the recycled plastic polymer.

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