From your bin to the Big Build

Published: 11 August 2022
Photo of recycled plastic noise wall panels along a freeway Noise wall panels made from recycled plastic along the new Mordialloc freeway. Image courtesy of ecologiQ.

Commuters and holiday makers can get to the beach faster, and on a more sustainable road, using Australia’s greenest freeway in Melbourne’s south-east.

Made from more than 150,000 tonnes of recycled asphalt, more than 193,000 tonnes of recycled roadbase and 570 tonnes of plastic waste – the new Mordialloc freeway demonstrates how we can create useful, long-lasting infrastructure with the things that Victorians recycle.

It’s oh so quiet

Australia’s greenest freeway was delivered by Major Road Projects Victoria, with the state government’s ecologiQ program ensuring products made from recycled materials were considered at every step of the way.

A key feature is the 10,000 noise wall panels made from 75% recycled plastic – the first of their kind in the world.

The revolutionary panels were developed by local Victorian manufacturer Pact Group, used in this project with the financial support of Sustainability Victoria through the Victorian Government’s Circular Economy Market Acceleration Program.

The walls were built using 570 tonnes of plastic waste, around the same amount that is collected kerbside from 25,000 Victorian households in a year. They’re made from a mix of hard plastics like milk and shampoo bottles, as well as soft plastics like food packaging.

ecologiQ Director Tony Aloisio said the support of Sustainability Victoria was key to creating these innovative walls and validating the product.

“Developing new products using recycled materials is fundamental to implementing the Recycled First Policy effectively and developing Victoria’s circular economy,” Mr Aloisio said.

These innovative noise walls can now be replicated on future projects, paving the way for a greener transport infrastructure future,” he said.

Sustainability Victoria’s Interim Chief Executive Officer Matt Genever said that supporting infrastructure like this is fundamental to showing recycled products in action and improving confidence and demand for recycled materials.

“The noise walls show the value of our resources and supports our work under the Victorian Government’s circular economy policy plan to enable industry and government to use and develop new innovative recycled products and processes,” said Mr Genever.

Greening your commute

Look beyond the wall to understand how multiple sustainable innovations were used to construct this much needed freeway that’s saving up to 10 minutes from your evening commute.

75 tonnes of recycled plastic were used to create drainage pipes and more than 321 tonnes of glass were turned into sustainable roadbase and asphalt – that’s more than 202.3 million bottles worth of recycled glass.

By using sustainable asphalt made from 44% recycled materials, there was a 66% reduction in carbon emissions for the construction.

The project also included landscaping mulch made of pine pallets and was able to divert 97% of waste from landfill during the construction – helping to keep valuable materials in our economy for longer.

Not only is the freeway made of sustainable materials, but it’s helping people get around in more ways than one. A shared pedestrian and cycling path means cyclists get to work faster, more safely and using less emissions.

Being able to use recycled materials at scale in our built environment is an important piece of the circular economy puzzle. SV helps to create new markets for recycled products in Victoria by investing in sustainability innovations that shape our built environment, making the road to a sustainable future as smooth as possible.

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