WIMMERA shoppers could be helping to create infrastructure in an environmentally friendly way.
On Wednesday, the first slab of Polyrok - concrete made entirely from recycled plastic such as wrappers placed in REDcycle bins - was poured at the edge of Horsham Coles' car park.
The plastic used has come from packaging collected through the Red Group program at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.
It is the brainchild of Steve Rawson, of Melbourne's SR Engineering, in conjunction with manufacturer Replas and RMIT University.
Mr Rawson said Horsham was the first place in Australia where this material was being used.
"The technology we've got is able to recycle contaminated material - like bread bags with a bit of bread left in them - so we're able to use it as a replacement for mineral aggregates," he said.
"With recycling of plastic, you've got multiple different types - polyethylenes, PETs which are your coke bottles. In traditional plastic recycling, we can't mix those plastics together and create a performing product. Using this process we can co-mingle the plastic together into a solid rock."
Coles' state construction manager Fiona Lloyd said Polyrok would also be used in other concrete constructions at the carpark, including the new curbing at footpath. Around 900,000 pieces of plastic, or 1700 kilograms, will be used overall.
"The carpark should be done by December. We are also upgrading the inside of the supermarket with a new Deli and Bakery," she said.
Mr Rawson said using plastic in concrete helped to reduce its "thermal mass", meaning it would trap less heat and keep the areas it was applied cooler. He also urged people to recycle properly to ensure as much plastic as possible could be reused.
"It also reduces emissions by reducing cement production," he said.
"The less contamination that is non-plastic contamination, the better. People do tend to throw things like paper and organics in their recycling bins, and that hinders the process."
The unveiling of Polyrok coincides with National Recycling Week this week.
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