Today’s coffee cups paving tomorrow’s roads

Road Resurfacing

Thursday, 2 March 2023

The take-away coffee cup that you had your coffee in this morning could be in the road you drive on tomorrow, under a revolutionary Australian-first recycling project for sustainable road surfaces.

Penrith City Council has partnered with State Asphalt Services for the resurfacing of 390 metres of Jamison Road at South Penrith, and 350 metres of Swallow Drive, Erskine Park where the PAK-PAVETM road surface will include a mixture containing almost 136,000 coffee cups.

In addition to the cups, the asphalt will include over 1.2 million glass bottles – a mix that has proven successful in the resurfacing of 8.4 kms of pavement throughout the Penrith Local Government Area (LGA).

Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen said Council is proud to be leading the way in a move that leads to a more sustainable circular economy and delivers a high-quality road surface for all road users.
“Council has a proven track record when it comes to re-using waste products in innovative ways, and this is yet another way of reducing landfill by giving a waste product new life in an alternative use,” Cr Hitchen said.

“With over 1,208 km of roads maintained by Penrith City Council, and countless kilometres of state roads in our LGA, we have the opportunity to make our roads far more environmentally friendly through the use of recycled materials.”

“Road users may not notice the subtle differences between PAK-PAVETM and other road surfaces under normal driving conditions apart from it being quieter, however in adverse conditions the new surface is reported to improve braking and wet weather performance,” Cr Hitchen said.

John Kypreos, Director of State Asphalts NSW said, “I’m incredibly proud of the team at State Asphalts NSW and our collaborating partners, who have worked tirelessly over the past three years to develop PAK-PAVE™ Roads.”

“We have enjoyed great support from government at all levels to get to this point and congratulate Penrith Council for being the first to use PAK- PAVE™ Roads.”

Closed Loop Managing Director, Rob Pascoe, was equally enthusiastic.

“The Simply Cups program has saved more than 30 million paper cups such as coffee cups and take-away soft drink cups from landfill since beginning in 2017,” said Mr Pascoe.

“We have explored dozens of practical applications for the cups which contain very high-quality fibre but are challenging to recycle because of their waterproof lining.”

The cups being used in the PAK-PAVETM surface are collected through Simply Cups, an initiative by Closed Loop, with 85% of the paper cups collected for recycling in the Penrith LGA in 2022 being used in these roads. Simply Cups is Australia’s largest paper cups recycling program and uses innovative technology capable of mixing used cups with other materials to produce items of higher value. To find a collection point, go to

Key numbers

  • Approx. 72,000 coffee cups are being used in the road surface on Jamison Road, South Penrith
  • Approx. 64,000 coffee cups are being used in the road surface on Swallow Drive, Erskine Park
  • Approx. 136,000 takeaway cups have been diverted from landfill for this project.
  • Glass bottle equivalents (using VB stubby as a reference point) >765,000 bottles (Jamison Road) + >450,000 (Swallow Drive) = 1.2 million bottles
  • The asphalt contains other recycled materials: Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement, Steel Furnace Slag
  • Total recycled content in the asphalt for this project is greater than 50%.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Thursday, 2 March 2023.