Sustainable Initiatives in Geosynthetics

Geosynthetics manufacturers around the world are trying to find ways to use more recycled plastics in their products, to use greener energy to produce their products, and to find more and better ways to recycle them at the end of their lifespan. This November 2021 article from the International Geosynthetics Society spotlights three companies that are doing just that.

Geofabrics Australia is Australia’s largest manufacturer and supplier of geosynthetics for the building and infrastructure sector. Since 2020, their iniatives utilized over 1,750 tons of plastic that otherwise would have ended up in landfills or nearly 1.5% of the annual amount of plastics disposed of by all Australians.

A US company, Re-Gen Enterprises (see below), created a way to recycle geomembranes. Their custom-built equipment cuts the liner into strips while a patented device rolls the strip while simultaneously removing sediment, reducing the cost of transport and recycling.

All of the companies profiled in the article talked about the impact of a cultural shift prioritizing greener products and methods. They also shared some of the keys to their success. An important point they made was a need for genuine efforts to operate more sustainably, with a strong commitment, not just “greenwashing” or relying on marketing spin rather than legitimate moves toward sustainability.

Sustainability is not a fad that will go away. I believe societal pressure to frame civil engineering projects through a green lens will increasingly become a factor in our projects. I think we geotechnical engineers have been slower than other civil engineering disciplines to find ways to provide more sustainable designs, but we’re catching up! Kudos to these geosynthetics companies like those profile that are helping us make that happen!

Thanks to IAEG Connector E-News for the link.