Prompted by the implementation of a new Australian standard for the type of temporary traffic barriers that can be used on the nation’s roads, Coates has launched a program to recycle non-compliant and end-of-life cycle Armorzone plastic barriers.
The program has initially seen 4,000 barriers sent for recycling in FY22. The barriers are processed into granules and refined in Australia, before being sold back to the original plastic manufacturer in New Zealand to create new products, including traffic barriers, in a circular recycling system.
“The aim of the program is to make our barriers part of the circular economy, which will help in reusing plastic and reducing waste,” says Peter Davis, Executive General Manager for Asset Services at Coates.
The circular economy underpins Coates’ Sustainability Strategy and is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.
As the company aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, the Asset Services team is increasingly looking for new and more sustainable ways to manage asset disposal. When a member of the team pitched the idea of recycling the barriers to make new plastic products, Coates senior management were quickly on board.
“We know sustainability really matters to our customers but it’s also important to Coates, so we continue to seek ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and collectively strive to reach net zero,” says Peter. “I’m sure our customers would love to know the traffic barriers they had on hire this year will be going back to the manufacturer to produce barriers they may hire in 10 years’ time.”
With more than 70,000 traffic barriers in its nationwide fleet, there are plans to expand the scheme to Coates’ operations in Western Australia and Queensland. The company is also investigating how it can recycle plastic components on other equipment.
“We’re starting off with one barrier model in NSW and Victoria, but we have a huge fleet of plastic traffic barriers across the country. As they reach end-of-life or they're damaged, we’ll recycle them via this program,” says Peter.
The barriers are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), one of most commonly used and recycled plastics.
“Like all plastics made from petroleum-based raw materials, HDPE manufacturing has a significant environmental impact,” says Peter. “Finished products can take centuries to decompose, so it’s crucial that they’re recycled into new products to be used again. This program is the circular economy in action and brings to life our vision to be the market leader in safe, smart and sustainable equipment solutions.”
The traffic barrier recycling program coincides with the launch of the company’s Greener Choices range. The range features battery electric, hybrid, solar, low emission engines and biofuel equipment across categories including Access, Materials Handling, Lighting, Site Accommodation, General Hire Tools, Traffic Management and Solutions.
For more sustainable equipment hire solutions for your business, call 13 15 52 or contact us today
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