The company plans to use its recycled glass as a replacement to sandstone and benchtops where workers risk silicosis caused by inhalation of silica dust.
Mr McKnoulty wants the Queensland government to look the recent Victorian governmental policy Recycled First, which requires all contractors bidding for rail and road projects to demonstrate how they can maximise recycled materials.
Melbourne’s M80 Ring Road, the Monash Freeway and South Gippsland Highway upgrades will use more than 20,000 tonnes of recycled materials, while 190 million glass bottles will be used in surfaces on the $1.8 billion Western Roads Upgrade.
Mr McKnoulty said the Queensland government needed to show similar leadership in recycling.
The government recently gave Enviro Sand a $1.2 million grant to expand the capacity of a recycling centre at Wacol.
“That’s really wonderful, but what is really important is to create demand for recycled materials,” he said.
Mr McKnoulty, the former national president of Greening Australia, has the state government’s attention.
Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey has inspected the recycling plant at Wacol and Treasurer Cameron Dick launched Queensland’s $100 million Resource Recovery plan at the site in September.
“If the government was to mandate some recycled content in projects– similar to the way E10 petrol works, which is 10 per cent recycled oil and 90 per cent traditional oil – there are new markets,” Mr McKnoulty said.
“For example, we could use our product in pipe bedding. We could use our product in a whole range of Main Roads applications.
“If we had 10 per cent of the product [like the ethanol component of E10], you would consume all the product (glass), the additional cost would be negligible and you’ve got a new industry.”
A Queensland Main Roads spokesman said the department used recycled products and was interested in the Victorian recycling policy.
“Through this work a range of recycled materials is used in our projects, including glass, crumb rubber, crushed concrete, crushed brick, recycled asphalt, fly ash and slag and in-situ material,” the spokesman said.
“Crumb rubber, which involves using recycled tyres in pavement, will save 1.1 million tyres from landfill by June 2021, as well as up to a 17.2 per cent reduction in greenhouse emissions.”
It has trialled new models of asphalt road using “thinner” layers of recycled rubber and flood-resistant “foamed” bitumen on the Gateway North upgrade and the Logan Enhancement Project.
Queensland Environment and Science said it had used recycled building materials in national parks for years.
The Lord Mayor Business Awards are on Thursday, November 26, at City Hall.
The full list of nominated firms can be read here.
Tony Moore is a senior reporter at the Brisbane Times