Paving the way forward

Panel: Liam Sykes, from Ecclesfield-based R3 Products installs a panel of its R-Pave patented permeable paving.
Panel: Liam Sykes, from Ecclesfield-based R3 Products installs a panel of its R-Pave patented permeable paving.
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Plastics recycling technology business R3 Products has clinched a multi-million pound contract to supply products including anti-flood paving to the Middle East.

Ecclesfield-based R3’s technology turns waste plastic that would otherwise go to landfill sites into heavy duty construction products.

One of the first products developed and launched by the company is a patented permeable paving system, called R-Pave, which was inspired by the floods in Sheffield five years ago.

Those floods were made worse by asphalt and concrete preventing water draining into the ground beneath, so R3 developed R-Pave, which is a widely-spaced plastic mesh that can be filled with gravel or other permeable material to create car parks, drive and roadways, golf course walkways and hard standing which allows water to drain away.

Panels of R-Pave interlock and hold the material in place, making it ideal for stabilising soil in arid countries, where sun and wind, rather than flooding, are the potential ecological problems.

R3’s Middle East deal involves the Sheffield firm supplying R-Pave and other products to Abu Dhabi on a two year contract with the prospect of a rolling 12-month extension.

Non-executive chairman Kevin Parkin said: “We are delighted to announce this major agreement and we are looking forward to exporting Made in Sheffield products to the Middle East.”

Other products going to Abu Dhabi could include Comply panels, made from recycled plastic, which can be used as an alternative to plywood shuttering, when laying concrete and can themselves be recycled.

R3 is currently installing a production line to make Comply panels at Ecclesfield and hopes to have the line up and running in May, after which it could produce up to 7,000 tonnes of panels a year.

The firm has also developed an innovative alternative to concrete kerbing, which weighs less than half as much, is just as durable, but less damaging to wheel rims when cars hit it.

The kerbing can also be designed to incorporate channels through which fibre optic and other cables can be run and solar power systems that could run street lights.

Best of all, it has been designed so that a plastic channel can be laid first and covered over until heavy sitework is completed, when the raised kerb is added.

At present, it is thought about 60 per cent of concrete kerbing on building sites has to be replaced before the site is handed over, because it has been damaged by heavy plant, so R3’s kerbs would mean additional savings as well as green benefits.