ORDINARY discarded drink bottles and tomato sauce jars are helping to build the $20 million South Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant.
Lismore City Council and its contractor Stirloch Constructions have recently begun using recycled glass sand in pipe bedding as part of the major construction project, which will transform the 80-year-old plant into a modern facility with an increased capacity of 45%.
Stirloch Constructions Project Engineer Shane Mangan said the company had a commitment to innovation and would be using around 1000 tonnes of the glass as they lay the foundation pipes for the new plant.
"We are always interested in trying out new products and there are a number of new products that haven't been used in Australia before that we are utilising on this project," he said.
"We conducted a number of tests and trials using the material prior to proceeding with its use. Further to this we researched whether any new health and safety risks would be presented by the use of the material, none of which were found.
"The material itself has characteristics similar to coarse river sand and to date there have been no issues raised regarding its use.
"One of our company's environmental targets moving forward is to try and utilise recyclable materials wherever possible or feasible. If the product works well on this project we would certainly look at using it on other projects."
The council's Business Development Coordinator Danielle Hanigan said she was thrilled that Stirloch was willing to try the product and said glass sand was also now being used by the council in other construction projects, such as pipe bedding in the Nimbin water supply upgrade.
"Initially we were only using the glass sand to mix into roadbase, so it's fantastic that we can broaden its use into other construction applications," she said.
"With all the media around the stockpiling of recycled glass within Australia recently, we are really keen for the community to know that we are using their household rubbish in really innovative ways, and that their waste is being recycled responsibly in the local area.
"The next big goal is to find a way to recycle plastics locally, and that definitely presents some challenges. But that's exactly what Lismore City Council is all about - tackling our waste problems and finding solutions that make us a leader in the field."