Our partner ZAG has published an open access article in MDPI. A pioneer in scholarly open access publishing, MDPI has supported academic communities since 1996. Based in Basel, Switzerland, MDPI has the mission to foster open scientific exchange in all forms, across all disciplines. Their 312 diverse, peer-reviewed, open access journals are supported by more than 84,200 academic editors. They serve scholars from around the world to ensure the latest research is freely available and all content is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
The authors of this article are Karmen Fifer Bizjak, Barbara Likar and Stanislav Lenart, Department of Geotechnics and Traffic Infrastructure, Slovenian Institute of Construction and Civil Engineering, ZAG, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The construction industry uses a large amount of natural virgin material for different geotechnical structures. In Europe alone, 11 million tonnes of solid waste is generated per year as a result of the production of almost 100 million tonnes of paper. The objective of this research is to develop a new geotechnical composite from residues of the deinking paper industry and to present its practical application, e.g., as a backfill material behind a retaining structure. After different mixtures were tested in a laboratory, the technology was validated by building a pilot retaining wall structure in a landslide region near a railway line. It was confirmed that a composite with 30% deinking sludge and 70% deinking sludge ash had a high enough strength but experienced some deformations before failure. Special attention was paid to the impact of transport, which, due to the time lag between the mixing and installation of the composite, significantly reduced its strength. The pilot retaining wall structure promotes the use of recycled materials with a sustainable design, while adhering to government-mandated measures.