Airport paving project uses bottles, cartridges

A Downer crew works on resurfacing Queenstown Airport's apron using TonerPave. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Downer crew works on resurfacing Queenstown Airport's apron using TonerPave. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Beer bottles and toner ink cartridges are being used to resurface Queenstown Airport's 40,000sq m apron.

Queenstown Airport Corporation is working with Downer on the $7million project, in which the used cartridges and glass are combined to create a paving aggregate called TonerPave.

Downer surfacing operations general manager George Leidig said TonerPave had been developed in partnership with Close the Loop, a sustainability solutions provider.

"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," he said.

The mix used modified toner polymer, from the toner cartridges, and sand made using the DB sand machine, which can crush a bottle, converting it to glass granules.

A dual vacuum removed silica dust and plastic labels, leaving sand used on construction sites, roading projects and in concrete.

The mobile asphalt mixing plant was based at the airport, reducing road haulage by 720,000km over the course of the project, expected to be complete by December 16.

QAC's operations and safety general manager Mike Clay said resealing of the aircraft parking area happened, on average, every 10 years.

This resurfacing, however, represented a "step-change" for the airport.

"We're really excited about tackling this long-cycle project in a different way.

"We've tried to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of it, from the recycled material used in the mix to reducing emissions from haulage."

As part of the project, more space was being provided in the apron to expand the electric ground service fleets.

Ducting was also being installed in the parking area to provide access to electric power.

That would provide "immediate benefits" for the ground service fleet and would future-proof for the possibility of airlines "powering their aircraft with electricity whilst parked at the gate, rather than fossil fuel", Mr Clay said.

The airport is holding "Trash to Treasure" events from 11am to 3pm today, and on December 7 and 14, where the public can see the DB sand machine in action and bring along used toner cartridges to provide material for the aggregate.

 

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