Utilising Recycled Plastics

Utilising Recycled Plastics

The use of recycled materials on newly designed and constructed industrial plant and facilities is not common. GPA recently engaged undergraduate engineers as part of our vocational work experience program to challenge traditional material selection and investigate opportunities to utilise recycled plastics.

A locally sourced composite material of recycled plastic and wood fibre was used to construct pipe supports, bollards and step over platforms at HyP SA – Hydrogen Production and Injection facility. Across the plant more than 3,000 kg of plastic was diverted from landfill, not only reducing waste, but also reducing the quantity of virgin steel and concrete required on the project. Along with the environmental benefits, the material costs were reduced – a fantastic achievement on a small-scale plant.

There is potential to utilise this material across a range of industrial projects. GPA hopes to set a new standard for plant / facility infrastructure and endeavours to continue to reduce the environmental impact of each of our projects.

Material Benefits

Better for the Environment

  • 3000kg of plastic diverted from landfill
  • Reduced need for virgin steel
  • Reduced the amount of concrete required to fix structures
  • Less transport required for locally sourced materials
  • Reduced transport emissions, as material is lighter than steel

More Cost Effective

  • Step overs made from composite material of recycled plastic and wood fibre were 20% cheaper than steel
  • Easier to put in place on site, reducing the need for heavy machinery and specialist operators

Ease of Construction

  • No required welding required
  • Material can be cut and modified using hand tools
  • No material finishing / coating required
  • Reduced excavation for footings


The step overs were designed and prefabricated offsite, with site construction costs in mind, opting for reduced labour and ease of manufacture.

A new pipe support method was developed reducing materials used and simplifying design. Recycled plastic sleepers are fixed by steel thru rod, eliminating the need for concrete fixings. Two height profiles of steel unistrut are used, eliminating the need for steel PFC to raise low profile unistrut.