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Railway sleepers made from recycled plastic gain traction in Victoria

After two years of research, a Monash University and Integrated Recycling project has come to fruition with railway sleepers made from recycled plastic lining tracks in Victoria.

Two-hundred sleepers have been installed as part of an 18-month trial in Richmond.

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.

An announcement by the Victorian government on June 24 indicated that the recycled sleepers have a potential lifespan of up to 50 years, are half the cost of traditional timber sleepers and require less maintenance.

For every kilometre of track installed, 64 tonnes of plastic waste will be recycled.

Minister for Environment, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the new technology is helping tackle the problem of plastic pollution in the state.

“This project is a great example of the circular economy we’re creating through innovation and rethinking a product we use every day,” she said.

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

The composite railway sleepers were part of a research project at the Monash Institute of Railway Technology Laboratory.