I am totally convinced and would use the same recycled asphalt that I laid in my driveway on our customers’ construction sites at any time.

Reinhard Kerschner
Division Mananger STRABAG
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Asphalt Recycling in progress!

Environmental protection in practice: division manager Reinhard Kerschner paved his driveway with 70 % recycled content

Reinhard Kerschner is technical division manager at STRABAG responsible for the transportation infrastructures business in Austria. Asphalt recycling is a topic that has been on Reinhard Kerschner’s mind for a long time. Although much has already happened in this field, there is still a lot of untapped potential to exploit. To demonstrate what sorts of things are already possible today, Kerschner decided to repave his driveway using, for the first time ever, asphalt from the STRABAG asphalt mixing plant in Austria containing the highest possible percentage of recycled asphalt: 70 %.

Mr. Kerschner, your driveway has the highest recycling content of any paved street in Austria. What’s the story behind that?

Reinhard Kerschner: Three years ago, we built Austria’s most modern mixing plant in Hausleiten. The plant is capable of mixing in an extremely high proportion of recycled material without any significant losses in material quality. Based on our previous customer enquiries and tendered projects from the public sector, however, we hadn’t yet been able to demonstrate what our plant is actually capable of. The recycling rates stipulated in our customers’ projects are in the range of around 20 %, in some cases a maximum of 50 %. This does not even come close to utilising the full potential of the plant. The main obstacle here are the current standards and regulations, but also the specific product properties required. In any case, we wanted to see how far we could go with the admixture of recycled asphalt. As I am currently renovating a 500-year-old farm in Lower Austria, and I had to resurface the access road, this was the perfect opportunity to show what our system can do.

The driveway has already been paved. What recycling content were you able to achieve together with the STRABAG specialists?

Reinhard Kerschner: In the end, we realised the access road with a recycling content of 70 %. Theoretically, it would also be possible to work with 100 % recycled asphalt. Together with our colleagues from the STRABAG testing institute TPA, however, we are still researching how we can realise more than 70 % in practice – and hopefully achieve 100 % at some point in the future.

Are you satisfied with the result?

Reinhard Kerschner: Absolutely! I am totally convinced and would use the same recycled asphalt that I laid in my driveway on our customers’ construction sites at any time. The quality of the material is impeccable.

Where do you see the greatest potential for asphalt recycling?

Reinhard Kerschner: Apart from the most important aspect of cutting down on fossil resources and reducing environmental pollution and emissions, I also see an important economic component. Especially in the past weeks and months, we have seen raw materials become scarce and, as a result, more expensive. So using existing resources is not only an environmental necessity, but also an economically lucrative thing to do. We are also seeing the trend that our investments in sustainable processes are increasingly being rewarded in tenders and that they give us a certain competitive advantage. For some contracts, for example, we can bid more expensively than our competitors because we meet higher recycling rates and work more sustainably.

We will invest even more in the infrastructure of our production facilities. For me, asphalt recycling is a technology that we can not only use very effectively already, but that also offers a lot of room for improvement. If we additionally operate our plants using solar power and other renewable energies, as is the case in Hausleiten, we will be taking an important step towards becoming climate neutral.

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