Coffee cups could be reused in composite building materials

Experimental research by Victoria University’s (VU) College of Engineering and Science has discovered that powder made from recycled takeaway coffee cups and other plastic waste material could be repurposed as a standard ingredient in some composite building materials.

Completing a comprehensive pilot study in 2020 in partnership with Wyndham City Council, the research team tested a variety of new materials developed by replacing the fine aggregate usually used in the composite mix with polyethylene (PE) powder made from used plastic coffee cups.

The use of plastic waste in new building materials could contribute to achieving Australia’s target of recovering 80 per cent of its waste by 2030, with the project seeking funding for its next phase, which will focus on large-scale testing ahead of commercialising the new eco-products.