Protecting The Environment with Geosynthetics

Geosynthetics are predominately plastic products made from polymeric materials that are helping us conserve resources and protect the environment.  These important products include geotextiles, geogrids, geomembranes (liners). They also offer the most energy efficient and cost effective way of constructing infrastructure projects while concurrently creating systems which help protect the environment.

Geosynthetics are a good choice for the environment as:

Increasing environmental concerns regarding the protection of our ground waters, atmosphere, waterways and oceans have led to a massive awareness of the versatility of the available range of geosynthetic types that can provide secure long term mitigation of harmful human and natural activities.

The greatest evidence of geosynthetics assisting in protecting the environment is through the use of geomembranes and geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) in many landfill applications.

The objective of a landfill facility is to contain the waste in a manner that is protective to human health and to the environment.  Landfills perform by controlling and managing the movement of fluids (i.e. liquids and gasses) around, into and out of the contained waste volume.

Geosynthetics serve two purposes in this application:

  1. Base barrier system functions:
    • To minimise the escape of leachate into the foundation
    • To prevent contamination of groundwater
  2. Cap barrier system functions:
    • To control moisture filtration into the waste
    • To collect gas flows from the waste
    • To prevent odours, and sources of disease
    • To meet erosion, aesthetic and other functional criteria

Acting as liquid and gas barriers, geomembranes have become a fundamental component in civil engineering, due to the heightened need for groundwater and environmental protection. High density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes, specifically those with a certification by government regulators and thickness’ of more than 1.5 mm, are most commonly used. Global Synthetics offer a full range of ProLiner® HDPE geomembranes made to the highest quality using virgin polymer. These can be provided in both a smooth and textured finish.

Alternatively in many situations, the use of a geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) can replace the importation of natural sealing clays at a saving to the landfill owner and to the environment.  Global Synthetics’s geosynthetic clay liner can additionally be coated with a polyethylene to give greater levels of safety in containment and also reduce desiccation issues, root penetration issues and extend the soil type usage against possible ion exchange issues that may be an issue with conventional geosynthetic clay liners.

To see which product could help you best attain your project goal while protecting the environment please speak to your local global synthetics representative.

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