By Angela Giuffrida and Monika Grzesik
Crushed aggregate from new plant could be used for first and second layering on projects.
Road contractors could avoid the brunt of rising asphalt prices when a new recycling plant for construction waste in Dubai comes on stream in September this year.
Asphalt prices jumped 40% between 2005 and 2006, and the cost per tonne currently stands at around US $120-130 (AED440-447), according to figures from Al Futtaim Tarmac.
But now road projects in the region could be executed more cheaply, with the first recycling plant for construction and demolition waste being set up by Emirates Recycling, a joint-venture between Al Rostamani Group and the Italian General Work infrastructure development company.
The $18 million project will be implemented on a BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) basis in cooperation with Dubai Municipality.
It will have the capacity to convert more than eight million tonnes of the construction and demolition waste material generated annually in Dubai into useable road and construction base aggregate.
According to figures from DM, construction and demolition waste makes up 75% of all the waste produced in Dubai each year, 50% of which could be recycled.
"Currently, the waste material coming out of construction sites is not segregated, such as plastic, wood, steel and pieces of aluminium," said Kewal Thapar, group head - corporate development, Al Rostamani Group.
"All of this material will be segregated at the plant. Metal, for example, will be segregated using specialised machinery, while wood and plastic will be segregated manually. We then crush the material into smaller aggregates. This material, we believe, is ideal for the first layer needed in road construction. When you crush it down even further you get a combination of aggregate and stone, which could be used for first and second road layering. It will definitely bring down the cost of producing a road."
The plant will be able to crush asphalt down into four different aggregates, as well as produce aggregate that could be used to make new asphalt.
"We will use two different types of machinery for this. One is a primary crusher and one is a big screen," said Roberto Biasizzo, managing director, Emirates Recycling. "The most important aggregate is the fine-sized asphalt, which contains a high quantity of bitumen."
Although road contractors agree the move would cut costs, getting recycled material approved for use in projects could take longer.
"Using recycled products would be a massive saving, as getting hold of primary aggregate at the moment is very difficult, not only because of the number of sources but also because of the number of vehicles available to move it," said Andy Bird, asphalt business manager, Al Futtaim Tarmac.
"Primary asphalt used on each job we do for DM, for example, has to be approved, and this can be a lengthy process, so for secondary aggregate produced from construction waste, this could take even longer. Even though DM is backing the recycling plant, the key thing will be getting the technical department on side too."