Message from the Minister
The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Solar Homes
Victoria faces some tough challenges as we strive to deliver a sustainable environment for future generations. From global issues like climate change to local shifts in our waste and recycling industries, we need to ensure we have the policy settings in place that will drive better environmental outcomes.
The Victorian Government's Social Procurement Framework helps us do this. It sets the expectation that environmental outcomes are considered in all our procurement activities.
Our environmental procurement policies are driving best practice approaches to using recyclable and recovered content, minimising waste and greenhouse gases, preventing habitat destruction and providing non-toxic solutions.
Major road and rail projects provide many recycling and sustainability opportunities. In cooperation with our delivery partners, we have used the following over the life of these major projects:
456 543t Recycled crushed concrete/masonry
Monash Freeway Upgrade – Stage 1 Thompsons Road Upgrade Hallam Road Upgrade Mernda Rail Extension Caulfield to Dandenong Abbotts Road Kororoit Creek Road
123 158t Steel with recycled content
Mernda Rail Extension North East Program Alliance (Hurstbridge Stage 1) North West Program Alliance (comprising Camp Rd, Skye Rd and Frankston Station Caulfield to Dandenong Kororoit Creek Road
329 042t Supplementary cementitious material
Mernda Rail Extension North East Program Alliance (Hurstbridge Stage 1) North West Program Alliance (comprising Camp Rd, Skye Rd and Frankston Station Kororoit Creek Road
Recycled Glass in concrete
Glass sand is being trialed in concrete as an alternative to virgin sand. Reservoir Station.
120 Recycled plastic sleepers to be installed on V/Line network
Wyndham Vale Stabling Yard
20km Rail barriers: rotationally moulded plastic using 5% recycled plastic across 20 km
Caulfield to Dandenong
6 000t Track and ballast reused on temporary rail line and stored for reuse
1 314t Recycled glass sand used as bedding material
Kororoit Creek Road Aviation Road Wyndham Vale Stabling Yard
Case study: Victorian Government's greener government schools
The Victorian Government established the Greener Government School Buildings program to reduce government schools’ greenhouse gas emissions and upgrade their facilities to be both energy efficient and more sustainable.
The Greener Government School Buildings program is installing solar panels in schools to reduce the environmental impact of school operations and to promote environmental sustainability and renewable energy initiatives across Victorian Government schools.
As of 30 September 2019, the Greener Government School Buildings pilot program had installed solar panels at 42 Victorian Government schools. Over the next five years, schools will repay the costs of the installation through the generated savings of the solar panel system itself.
Across the 42 schools, a total system capacity of 987 kW has been installed. This is generating 1 369 157 kWh of electricity savings, which equates to $301 854 saved on utility bills a year and carbon dioxide abatement of approximately 1 600t CO2e.
Sustainability requirements on major projects
Our large projects also include significant sustainability requirements, which cover both the delivery of the project and where appropriate, the on-going operation of the infrastructure. These requirements include:
- Energy-efficient lighting at construction sites and site facilities
- Use of high efficiency diesel generators
- Use of green power and carbon offsets
- Energy efficient lighting and hot water systems
- Use of solar panels where possible
- Waste management practices to maximise diversion from landfill
- Regenerative drives on escalators which enable the capture, storage and reuse of otherwise wasted braking energy
41 059t CO2e reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
These activities have had a real impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Across four major infrastructure projects alone, Mernda Rail Extension, North East Program Alliance (Hurstbridge Stage 1), North West Program Alliance (comprising Camp Road, Skye Road and Frankston Station), Western Program Alliance (Kororoit Creek Road, Abbotts Road) a total reduction of 41 059t CO2e13 has been projected.
13 The stated consolidated CO2e reduction incorporates both realised construction and projected operational phase reductions across the projects for a period of 50 years (as informed by the Australian Transport Assessment and Planning Guidelines for Rail Projects).
Case study: recycled plastic sleepers
For the first time in Victoria, V/Line trains are rolling over railway sleepers made from recycled plastic.
The recycled sleepers are an innovative replacement for V/Line's current concrete sleepers and were installed in July 2019 near Wyndham Vale train station, in a brand-new storage yard for regional trains.
V/Line trains are heavier and run faster than metro trains, so they need sturdy sleepers. Concrete has always been the most reliable option – until now.
Thorough testing shows the recycled plastic sleepers will not melt, crack or flake off under pressure. They will not leach into the environment and are much less carbon intensive to make. For every kilometre installed, the sleepers use 64 TONNES OF PLASTIC WASTE that would have otherwise gone to landfill.
1KM - 64t plastic waste diverted from landfill.
This was the second major milestone for the recycled plastic sleepers, which were also installed for the first time on the Metro Trains network at Richmond Train Station in June 2019.
Made from a mix of polystyrene and agricultural plastic waste, the recycled sleepers provide an environmentally sustainable alternative to concrete, which requires intensive resources and causes higher levels of carbon emissions.
The recycled plastic sleepers last up to 50 years and they need less maintenance during that time.
Case study: using recycled glass in level crossing removal
The Kororoit Creek Road Level Crossing Removal Project is the first rail project in Victoria to use recycled glass sand as bedding fill, as well as backfill for drainage piping.
The recycled glass sand is manufactured from inert recycled glass recovered from the glass recycling process. Reusing this material reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfill and preserves existing sand deposits. It also conserves the energy that would otherwise be used to extract sand.
The cost of the recycled glass sand used in this project was about half the price of virgin material, due to shorter transport distances. It is also safer to handle, as it presents a lower respiratory hazard than traditional sand.
The project used 904 TONNES of recycled glass sand at the Kororoit Creek Road site and another 410 TONNES at the Aviation Road and Wyndham Vale Stabling Yard project sites.
To support the long-term viability of this sustainable solution, Metro Trains Melbourne has developed a specification that allows the use of recycled glass sand anywhere within the Metro Trains Melbourne metropolitan rail network.
Case study: using recycled content in road surfaces
In May 2018, the Victorian Government announced a $2.5 MILLION PROGRAM to develop the market for recovered resources. As part of this program, Downer Group in partnership with Hume City Council, Close the Loop and RED Group developed Australia’s first asphalt road mix using reclaimed asphalt, toner from printer cartridges, glass fines and soft plastics. The successful research led to the construction of the soft plastic asphalt road in Craigieburn, which will support the commercialisation of this new road product as Downer monitors the road’s performance over the next year.
Compared with the standard VicRoads-specified asphalt, the new asphalt mix has a longer lifespan, thanks to a 65 per cent improvement in fatigue tolerance. It also has better deformation resistance for withstanding heavy vehicular traffic.
Every 1 km of two-lane road paved with plastic and glass modified asphalt uses approximately:
- 530 000 RECYCLED PLASTIC BAGS AND PACKAGING
- 170 000 RECYCLED GLASS BOTTLES
- 12 500 TONER FROM USED PRINTER CARTRIDGES
- 130t OF RECLAIMED ROAD (ASPHALT) RE-USED, WITH THE INCLUSION OF 20 PER CENT RECLAIMED ASPHALT PAVEMENT
Case study: noise wall parapets made with recycled plastic
The Victorian Government is using Viscount’s rotationally moulded plastic noise walls and parapet claddings across a number of major rail and road projects.
For the Level Crossing Removal Program, Viscount and its installation partner Aus Group Alliance, worked with the Level Crossing Removal Project to develop, construct and install 21 km of rotationally moulded plastic parapet cladding.
The noise walls and parapet claddings can be made from up to 30 per cent post-consumer kerbside recycled material. Ten kilometres of the noise walls typically consume 260 TONNES OF WASTE, for example 6 190 000 reclaimed one-litre milk bottles.
The noise walls’ carbon footprint is more than 30 per cent lower than concrete. They have a longer life than timber and can be fully recycled at the end of their life. They also require less maintenance and offer a cheaper and safer installation for operators due to their light weight.
The adoption of the noise walls and parapet cladding system provide significant savings on supply and installation costs. Local residents and authorities have praised the noise walls for their aesthetics and noise abatement capabilities.
Reviewed 05 July 2023