In a secret location in an industrial area in western Sydney, a test strip of asphalt is being laid.
But this is no ordinary road.
The 50-metre strip stretching out into the hot afternoon sun is held together by an unusual material. The gooey cellulose that binds a road surface together is usually imported from overseas, but here it has been sourced locally: from the paper, plastic, lids and liners of coffee cups that were once destined for landfill.
For months now, heavily loaded trucks have rolled back and forth over this asphalt and the surface has held up without cracking. The product has been put through a machine test that flexes it until it fails. So far, it has done everything a road surface is expected to do, and then some, says John Kypreos, director of State Asphalt Services. “It’s a better performance product than what we were producing before.”