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Downer EDI Works innovates with recycled roads

NOVEMBER 2019Downer EDI Works were recognised at the 2019 Carbon Neutral Adelaide Awards, winning the Applied Innovation category.

Downer is a leading force in sustainable infrastructure with an internal culture and research and development platform designed to reduce landfill, carbon emissions and build more durable road surfaces.

A $15 million Wingfield manufacturing plant upgrade in 2014 made the company SA’s first producer of a 100% recycled asphalt product. More than 4,197 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been saved since the upgrade was commissioned, equivalent to taking 1,521 cars off South Australian roads or offsetting the annual emissions of 233 average Adelaide households.

Recycled materials incorporated in road resurfacing projects last financial year were equivalent to almost 60 million glass bottles, 14 million plastic bags, 415 kilometres of road, toner from 333,000 printer cartridges, and crumb rubber from 191,250 end of life tyres.

Downer’s services to the City of Adelaide’s roadworks program reduced CO2 emissions by 89 tonnes last financial year and included installation of Australia’s first 100% recycled road in Chatham Street.

Downer has also innovated the asphalt manufacturing process, using lower temperatures (warm asphalt mix) which reduces carbon emissions by up to 65% and results in a 25% stronger product.

With a carbon-neutral target date of 2050 and plans to establish a detritus processing facility in Adelaide following its successful plant in Sydney, Downer is committed to advancing its sustainable agenda well into the future.

Steve Ainscow, Manager, SA Surfacing said "through our ongoing development and application of sustainable road construction products we are embracing the opportunities of the circular economy, recognising the benefits for business, the environment, our customers and the communities we work in."

"Specification of our sustainable asphalt products is not a compromise. We are demonstrating how government at all levels can repurpose local materials into new streams of use and lower their carbon emissions, while delivering road surfaces more than 25% stronger than standard asphalt."

"With improved pavement strength comes increased asset lifespan, meaning over time, the sustainability benefits of these products will extend to reduced maintenance and resurfacing requirements."

Finalists for Applied Innovation were:

  • Fonzarelli - Reducing emissions with Australia’s first locally designed and made, emission-free motorbike
  • SUHO - Preparing for the climate of the future with Adelaide’s first ten star home
  • Allume and Suntrix - Partnering to make shared solar a new reality for apartment living


“Specification of our sustainable asphalt products is not a compromise.”

Steve Ainscow

Manager, SA Surfacing