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Planes will park on beer bottles and printer toner

November 9, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Thousands of Australian travellers, heading on Qantas, Jetstar or Air New Zealand toone of the region’s most spectacular mountain resorts, will fly on planes that end up standing on a revolutionary form of airport tarmac incorporating recycled beer bottles and waste printer toner.

Queenstown Airport in New Zealand’s South Island is pioneering a radical projectusing low-carbon asphalt, which incorporates waste printer toner and recycled glass. The new material will be used initially to resurface the airport’s aircraft parking area beside the terminal building. From there, who knows?

Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) is partnering with infrastructure and facilities company Downer on the NZD 7 million project. The new form of asphalt is said to provide a robust, durable surface in all weathers.

The project is set to start next week, for completion by 16 December in time for Christmas and the peak summer holiday season.

QAC’s general manager of operations and safety, Mike Clay, says the aircraft parking area is resealed about once every 10 years – but this time it will be a “step-change” for the airport.

Mobile asphalt plant doing its stuff with printer toner and beer bottle waste

“We’ve tried to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of it, from the recycled material used in the mix to reducing emissions from haulage,” Clay said.

“At the same time, we’re looking at ways to support the airlines and ground handlers to collectively minimise our carbon and environmental footprint. In particular, we’re keen to help facilitate their transition from fossil fuel-based diesel to electric ground service equipment in order to reduce carbon emissions.

“As part of this project, more space will be provided to cater for the expansion of the electric ground service fleets and ducting will be installed in the airfield parking area to provide access to electric power. This will provide immediate benefits in terms of powering the electric ground service fleets.

“It will also future-proof for the possibility of airlines powering their aircraft with electricity whilst parked at the gate rather than fossil fuel, which would improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.”

Clay says the airport is keen to encourage visitors, local community and airlines to donate their beer bottles and toner cartridges to help. “Reduce, Recycle and Reseal” is the message.

The airport will set up a “Trash to Treasure” stand, complete with a beer bottle recycling machine, information and videos, inside the terminal building during the works so people can donate their bottles and learn more about the process.

Downer’s general manager of surfacing operations, George Leidig, said the resealing process, called TonerPave, “uses Modified Toner Polymer made from recycled toner cartridges and will also include recycled glass sand.

“We recognise that sustainability is a journey and we hope that by using recycled materials in this project, we can deliver an innovative solution while helping to protect New Zealand’s finite natural resources.”

An onsite asphalt plant will reduce road haulage by 720,000km over the course of the project, which will help to keep local roads clearer and safer as well as cutting emissions.

The resurfacing will take place between 6pm and 6am six days a week, starting at the Remarkables Park side of the terminal and finishing at the lake end.

Written by Peter Needham

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