Melbourne home to greenest freeway

green freeway

Made from more than 150,000 tonnes of recycled asphalt, more than 193,000 tonnes of recycled roadbase and 570,00 tonnes of plastic waste – the new Mordialloc freeway in Melbourne’s south-east is Australia’s greenest freeway.

The 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 per cent recycled plastic – believed to be the first of their kind in the world.

The panels were developed by Victorian manufacturer Pact Group, and 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 such as milk and shampoo bottles, as well as soft plastics such as food packaging.

Tony Aloisio, ecologiQ Director, said the support of Sustainability Victoria was key to creating the 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,” Aloisio said.

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

Matt Genever, Sustainability Victoria’s Interim Chief Executive Officer, said that supporting infrastructure such as 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,” Genever.

Multiple sustainable innovations were used to construct the freeway – 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 per cent recycled materials, there was a 66 per cent reduction in carbon emissions for the construction. The project also included landscaping mulch made of pine pallets and was able to divert 97 per cent of waste from landfill during the construction – helping to keep valuable materials in the economy for longer.

Being able to use recycled materials at scale in the 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 the built environment, making the road to a sustainable future as smooth as possible.

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