Recycled railway sleepers have been incorporated into Melbourne’s Richmond station as part of a campaign to reduce waste through construction.
The first of 200 sleepers have been installed at the station as part of an 18-month trial.
Made from a mixture of polystyrene and agricultural waste, such as cotton bale wrap and vineyard covers, the sleepers have a potential lifespan of up to 50 years. They are also half the price of traditional timber sleepers and require less maintenance.
The sleepers are the result of more than two years of research and development lead by Monash University and recycling company Integrated Recycling.
Four Victorian tourist railways, including Puffing Billy, have already incorporated the recycled railway sleepers into the tracks.
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“It’s exciting to see innovative, environmentally friendly technology rolled out at one of Melbourne’s busiest train stations,” Victorian Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne said.
The Victorian Government has invested $630,000 through grant programs delivered by Sustainability Victoria to help the project.
For each kilometres of track, 64 tonnes of plastic waste are reused and diverted from landfill.
Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the government was embracing a new technology to tackle the problem of plastic pollution within the community.
“This project is a great example of the circular economy we’re creating through innovation and rethinking a product we use everyday,” D’Ambrosio said.
To read more about how recycled materials are being used in construction, visit Waste Management Review.