Recycled plastic railway sleepers trialled

Rail tracks at Victoria’s Richmond Station will receive 200 railway sleepers made from recycled plastic as part of an 18-month trail, in an effort from the Victorian Government to address waste.

Produced in Mildura by Integrated Recycling, the Duratrack sleepers are made from a mix of polystyrene and agricultural waste, including cotton bale wrap and vineyard covers all sourced in Australia.

The recycled sleepers have a potential lifespan of up to 50 years, are half the cost of traditional timber sleepers and require far less maintenance.

The Labor Government has invested $630,000 through grant programs delivered by Sustainability Victoria to make the project a reality.

For every kilometre of track installed, 64 tonnes of plastic waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill will be recycled.

The ground-breaking product is the result of more than two years of research and product development led by Integrated Recycling and Monash University, with the sleepers already up and running at four Victorian tourist railways including the iconic Puffing Billy.

The introduction of the new sleepers, which are approved for use on Melbourne’s metropolitan rail network, are in relation to environmental requirements included in the Labor Government’s current contract with Metro Trains.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “This marks a significant milestone as Victoria embraces innovation in the recycling industry and transitions to a circular economy.

“We’re embracing new technology to tackle the problem of plastic pollution in our community.

“This project is a great example of the circular economy we’re creating through innovation and rethinking a product we use everyday.”

Victoria Minister for Public Transport, Melissa Horne, said, “It’s exciting to see innovative, environmentally friendly technology rolled out at one of Melbourne’s busiest train stations.”

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