$1.6 million invested in Victorian projects to develop products sourced from recycled glass, plastic, paper and e-waste

07 October 2019

A montage of three photos showing broken glass in cupped human hands, a man leaning on slabs of concrete and road workers doing maintenance work with a steamroller

Nine new Victorian projects will receive a combined total of $1.6 million in funding to invest in development and research trials that make use of recycled glass, plastic, paper and e-waste.

The funding is the latest announcement from our Research, Development and Demonstration grants program and will support innovative research to test and develop new uses and technologies for materials recovered from Victorian household and commercial recycling. There are also projects that will test new extraction technologies to improve the recovery of precious materials from e-waste such as solar panels and batteries.

The funding aims to increase consumer and business confidence in the quality of recycled content in a range of products, support the scaling up of new or existing products and ultimately keep valuable resources out of landfill.

Sustainability Victoria’s Interim CEO Carl Muller said, “It’s all part of Victoria’s growing circular economy – we need proven recycled content products and markets for those products to make recycling viable. This will build confidence and market demand.”

“Research findings from the funded projects will inform industry of the opportunities to use recovered materials in manufacturing and infrastructure and will support purchasing of products using recycled materials.”

“With recent shifts in international markets, such as in China, there is an opportunity to develop strong local markets so the recovery of resources can be maximised.”

The funded projects giving new life to our recycling

The nine funded projects bring together industry, government and universities for innovative research collaborations that will change the face of the commercial market for recycled content products and materials.

The Australian Road Research Board will receive $200,000 to trial recycled crushed glass in asphalt on local roads, in collaboration with Brimbank City Council and VicRoads.

Over 250,000 tonnes of glass is recovered from households and business in Victoria every year. Using finely crushed glass as road base has the potential to create viable markets for the vast amounts of glass collected in Victoria, especially that which is low-value and not easily recycled back into other glass products.

Swinburne University will receive $192,950 to evaluate the use of recovered glass, plastics and crushed concrete in the foundations of railway structures, in partnership with Melbourne Trains Metro, Level Crossing Removal Project and Rail Projects Victoria.

Currently, railway foundations are made of quarried virgin materials. This project has the potential to create a sustainable long-term market for recovered materials such as plastic and glass which are challenging to recycle and process locally at present.

“The environmental benefits of using recycled content products and materials are clear, including reducing the need for resources, reducing production of high energy products such as concrete and curbing greenhouse gas emissions from production,” said Mr Mueller.

“Victoria is investing in a strong and sustainable circular economy that is environment, jobs and economy focused where recovering resources and using recycled content products is the norm.”

Success stories from previous funding

Previous recipients of the grant have made a big impact. Duratrack composite plastic sleepers,  produced in Mildura by Integrated Recycling, contain a mix of plastic waste which is typically low value and often sent to landfill. This is the result of a research collaboration with Monash Institute of Railway Technology with the plastic sleepers now installed on the Metro line in Richmond and the V/Line near Wyndham Vale.

About the grants

The Research, Development and Demonstration program is administered by Sustainability Victoria and is part of the Victorian Government’s $4.5 million Market Development for Recovered Resources Program. For more information, including a full list of recipients and previously funded success stories, see our Research, Development and Demonstration Grants page.