Full Steam Ahead For Recycled Plastic Railway Sleepers

  • Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

Trains travelling through Richmond will now be running on railway sleepers made from recycled plastic as part of the Andrews Labor Government's war on waste.

Minister for Environment Lily D'Ambrosio and Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne were at Richmond train station today to see the first of 200 sleepers being installed as part of an 18-month trial.

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.

This marks a significant milestone as Victoria embraces innovation in the recycling industry and transitions to a circular economy.

As stated by Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio

"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"

As noted by Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne

"It's exciting to see innovative, environmentally friendly technology rolled out at one of Melbourne's busiest train stations."

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