Sydney’s roadways going green thanks to jar-dropping reconstruction

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
3 Min Read

Driving over smashed glass is usually best avoided, but for Sydneysiders, it’s now something to smile about.

New roads in the city are being rebuilt using recycled glass jars, paving the way to a more sustainable future.

The City of Sydney’s innovative inclusion of the clear containers in roadway renovations has been a smashing success.

The jar-mazing approach has recently been used to redevelop Clarence Street, using 120,000 jars over a 1km stretch of the city’s CBD.

In just over two years, Sydney streets have used a jar-dropping 1.5 million of the recycled containers as part of their road renewal program.

The roadway reinvention has put a lid on the jars heading to landfill, with those used unsuitable for being transformed back into another glass container.

Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore AO says the sustainable solution is allowing the city to use less sand in its road revamps, one of the most overly consumed natural resources worldwide.

“What was once considered waste is now being seen as a resource. This shift away from linear thinking is vitally important to tackling climate change and improving circular economy outcomes,” Mr Moore said.

The Clarence Street road revamp also includes densely graded asphalt, 20 per cent of which comes from reclaimed roads that have reached the end of their usable lifespan.

More than 8,000m² of the CBD street’s surface is now made from recycled materials thanks to the reconstruction.

Money saving jars

Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the glass jar initiative has shattered expectations across the city, with the benefits spread widely.

“Clarence Street’s renewal is a fantastic sustainability outcome,” he said.

“When we use this mix, it saves money, is better for the environment and reduces what ends up in landfill.”

The City of Sydney resurfaces around 35,000m² of road each year, often using over-recycled materials such as crumbed rubber, printer toner and soft plastics to create the asphalt used in its road resurfacing program.

It forms part of a broader commitment to create more circular economy streams and reduce waste that ends in landfills through the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Council’s ‘Paving the Way’ initiative.

The program aims to use 100 million glass containers annually to renew local roads across the city.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.