Research, Development and Demonstration grants

The Market Development Research and Development (R&D) Grants Program valued currently at over $2 million aims to stimulate markets for recovered resources in Victoria by supporting research into product development and performance. The program began in 2016 and to date:

  • two funding rounds have awarded 17 projects a combined total of over $2 million
  • two R&D projects from Round 1 have received further funding to progress them to feasibility study stage.

Achievements and progress

Key milestone Achievements
Round 1: project recipients announced 2016

Seven projects received $600,000 to conduct R&D to develop new markets for recovered glass fines and flexible plastics.

Two of the seven projects have received additional funding to undertake further laboratory testing and demonstration trials.

Projects were completed by 2018.

Round 2: project recipients announced December 2018

Projects received $1.5 million to conduct research and field trials to develop new markets for recovered materials.

Projects must be completed by 2021.

Round 3 R&D grants open in 2019

Thinking circular

Recycled glass bottles have been used in road-base in Melbourne’s heavily used and critical airport link – the Tullamarine Freeway. This industry-led project was delivered in 2018 and we are advocates of reusing recycled materials in pavement. We apply circular economy principles in our R&D program design and delivery.

Watch a video about this project

Round 1 R&D projects progress to next stage

Recycled plastics in railway sleepers

In 2016, Sustainability Victoria (SV) provided $100,000 from Round 1 R&D Grants Program to Monash University to deliver an R&D project in partnership with Integrated Recycling. The purpose of the project was to undertake testing and product development of the Duratrack recycled plastic railway sleeper (Stage 1). This initial R&D played a key role in providing required evidence to Metro Trains Melbourne for product consideration.

In 2018 SV is providing Monash University with an additional $200,000 to undertake in-field testing and monitoring to understand product performance of the Duratrack recycled plastic railway sleeper such as noise and vibration reduction. Stage 2 will provide technical specifications on the Duratrack sleeper that will inform use by Metro Trains Melbourne as well as other rail networks nationally and internationally.

If Duratrack is successful in meeting Metro Trains Melbourne product requirements, it provides a significant opportunity to develop a new market for the installation of rail sleepers made from plastic waste in Victoria.

Developing a recycled glass fines in concrete specification

In 2016, SV provided $100,000 from Round 1 R&D Grants Program to Melbourne University to deliver an R&D project in partnership with PrefabAUS. The purpose of the project was to investigate the feasibility of replacing virgin sand with glass fines in concrete. The initial R&D funding (Stage 1) provided Melbourne University with results that demonstrate great potential in replacing virgin sand with recycled glass fines in concrete.

In 2018, SV is providing Melbourne University with an additional $115,000 to extend the current research project to include mechanical and durability testing of the glass fines concrete mix and construct a demonstration site (referred to as Stage 2) to trial the specification in a real-world application. The demonstration site will be at a Level Crossing Removal Authority project site. Melbourne University are partnering with VicRoads, Hanson and the North West Program Alliance (part of the Victorian Level Crossing Removal Authority) to deliver this project.

Round 2 Funded Projects (announced December 2018)

Ten projects received $1.5 million between them to conduct research and field trials to develop new markets for recovered materials and increase their uptake in Victoria.

A summary of completed research project results and opportunities.

View the ministerial announcement

Project lead Project partner(s) Targeted material Project description Funding
ARRB Group Ltd


Australian Asphalt Pavement Association

Rubber Develop a VicRoads specification that allows use of crumb rubber in asphalt for use in local roads. $60,000
RMIT University

Boral Limited

Office of Projects Victoria

City of Whitehorse

Plastics, rubber (tyres) Develop a premix concrete incorporating recycled plastics and rubber. $200,000
RMIT University

Sami Bitumen Technologies

City of Whittlesea

Office of Projects Victoria

Plastics, rubber Develop a performance-based classification system of plastic/rubber-modified bitumen. This would mean that the inclusion of recycled content is determined by performance rather than percentage. $200,000
RMIT University


Frasers Property Australia

Hume City Council

Brimbank City Council

Glass Test the use of glass fines in building construction materials, including interior panels and exterior facades. This project includes the construction of a model house to evaluate the panels performance. $77,806
Swinburne University of Technology

GT Recycling Pty Ltd

Robovoid Pty Ltd

Plastics Develop a production process using 100% recycled plastics in concrete void formers which are used to reduce the volume of concrete whilst maintaining strength in concrete slabs. $175,000
Swinburne University of Technology Wyndham City Council Glass and plastics Using previously SV funded R&D results to demonstrate the performance of plastics and glass in concrete footpaths. $72,100
Swinburne University of Technology

Alex Fraser Group

VicRoads (Quarry Materials specialist)

Concrete, brick and glass Undertake R&D to develop a VicRoads specification for municipal roads that permits the use of crushed glass, concrete and brick. $176,000
Yarra City Council RMIT University Glass Trialling a separate glass collection with approx. 1000 residents and using the collected glass in asphalt to demonstrate performance in municipal road construction. $200,000
University of Melbourne Downer EDI Works Concrete, brick, glass, plastics and rubber A demonstration project trialling a permeable pavement, using recycled concrete, brick, glass, plastics and rubber, under real traffic conditions. $160,000
Hermetia Biosystems Pty Ltd - Organics (food waste) Establish a demonstration facility to convert up to 100 tonnes of food waste per day into protein meal and fertiliser products. $200,000

Round 1 Funded Projects (announced 2016)

In 2016, SV partnered with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to provide over $600,000 to seven projects to develop new markets for recovered glass fines and flexible plastics. 

View the ministerial announcement

University Industry partner(s) Targeted material Research project description Funding Case study
Swinburne University of Technology Polytrade Glass fines and flexible plastics Investigate new blends of concrete for footpaths by incorporating FP & GF without compromising engineering standards required for its use. This project aims to reduce the carbon footprint associated with footpath construction. $100,000 Using recovered plastics and glass fines in concrete footpaths.
Swinburne University of Technology

Alex Fraser Group


Glass fines Investigate the application of GF as a
a) supplementary material with recycled crushed rock in cement treated bound pavement (road base) applications and
b) as a rigidity reduction material when used in unbound crushed concrete/crushed rock (triple) blends.
$100,000 Glass fines in cement treated pavement.
University of Melbourne PrefabAus Glass fines Investigate and develop new prefabricated building materials utilising GF to make lightweight concrete building components that do not require high strength and /or load bearing characteristics. And investigate the use of geopolymer concrete as a replacement for Portland cement in the construction of prefabricated panels. $100,000 Using recycled glass in lightweight concrete creates new product market and decreases virgin material use.
Monash University Integrated Recycling Pty Ltd Flexible plastics Develop a process to test and qualify low cost alternative polymers as suitable for use in the manufacture of 'approved' railway sleepers that are produced locally, made with 100 per cent recycled material, meet standards and are competitively priced to compete with international imports. $100,000 Recycled plastics in railway sleepers.
Monash University Potters Industries  Glass fines

Investigate the suitability of using Potters recycled glass fines in three-dimensional (3D) printing. Specifically investigating 3D printing with recycled glass fines, glass fines mixed with polymers and metal powders.

$45,000 Breakthrough research in 3D printing utilises recycled glass.
RMIT Alex Fraser Group & Mark Douglas Designs Glass fines Explore a diverse range of technical solutions to repurpose glass fines, through a combination of design and engineering approaches. These approaches include reviewing the Australian glass waste system and engaging RMIT design students to investigate methods of cleaning glass fines and identify feasible applications for industry to explore commercialisation opportunities. $99,338 Understanding recycled glass fines for product design.
Victoria University Polytrade Regina Glass Replas Glass fines Investigate how incorporating glass fines into recycled plastic products could increase structural strength for use in applications such as decking joists, bearers and posts to strengthen decking made from recycled plastic. $99,847 Using recycled glass in plastic products.

Want to know more? Get in touch with:

Jean Young

Environmental Project Advisor | Resource Recovery Strategies and Programs

03 8626 8768