The Victorian State Government has announced a new project to create more sustainable infrastructure by using recycled and reused materials in construction projects.

The Recycled First program will build new requirements into future projects under the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority, bringing a uniform approach to the use of recycled products and driving innovation in sustainable materials.

The program will incorporate recycled and reused materials that meet existing standards for road and rail projects – with recycled aggregates, glass, plastic, timber, steel, ballast, crushed concrete, crushed brick, crumb rubber, reclaimed asphalt pavement and organics taking precedence over brand new materials.

The State Government suggests that Big Build is already creating more than 15,000 local jobs – with the Recycled First program will boosting employment even further.

Recycled First will work alongside the Big Build, which is delivering more than 100 major road and rail projects across the state, providing an opportunity to drive significant change in the reuse of construction waste material.

Companies interested in delivering major transport infrastructure projects will be required to demonstrate how they will prioritise recycled and reused materials while maintaining compliance and quality standards.

Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said that the initiatives will increase demand for reused products.

“Recycled First will boost the demand for reused materials right across our construction sector – driving innovation in sustainable materials and changing the way we think about waste products.”

The State Government suggests that using new high-quality recycled alternatives for major projects will drive lower-cost infrastructure by reducing reliance on raw materials.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said that it is vital for Victorians to minimise waste.

“This is an important investment in the recycling industry. It ensures we recycle and re-use items on government projects, and keep waste out of landfill.”

Work is already underway with current construction partners to ensure more recycled content is being used on major projects, in addition to the new Recycled First requirements.

The M80 Ring Road, Monash Freeway and South Gippsland Highway upgrades will use more than 20,000 tonnes of recycled materials, and 190 million glass bottles will be used in surfaces on the $1.8 billion Western Roads Upgrade.

Recycled demolition material was also used to build extra lanes along 24km of the Tullamarine Freeway as well as the Monash Freeway and M80 Ring Road.

The Labor Government is also reusing materials created by its own projects, with 14,000 tonnes of soil excavated from the Metro Tunnel site in Parkville now being used in pavement layers on roads in Point Cook. This material weighs as much as 226 E-class Melbourne trams and would otherwise have gone to landfill.

Almost 56 million tyres are discarded nationally every year, but just 10 per cent are recycled. Researchers have started trialling the use of crumbed tyre rubber on busy metropolitan roads, with the asphalt to be tested on a kilometre and a half section of East Boundary Road in Bentleigh East.


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