The Plenty Road Upgrade team is waging a war on waste, with a focus on using recycled and repurposed materials.

Along with construction partner Decmil, we have been reusing and repurposing road materials and timber both inside the project work site and throughout the local community as well as using recycled materials wherever possible.

The surface of the new road is partially made up of asphalt from old road pavements with lower grade pavement also reused in the subbase of the shared user paths.

So far, 4,500 tonnes of material has been recycled.

The project team has also used:

  • glass - recovered from the glass recycling process by crushing it into sand and using it as bedding fill and backfill for drainage pipes
  • rock and concrete - obtained from construction and demolition sites has been crushed and reprocessed to be used in new pavements
  • topsoil and mulch - removed during construction for future landscaping
  • recycled plastics, including soft plastics - collected by the RedCycle program for construction on a new boardwalk connecting Wealthiland Drive to the existing shared user path.

Materials from the project are also being repurposed throughout the local community, such as

  • an old River Red Gum removed is now a home for local animals in Whittlesea Park, with logs from the tree now serving as habitat hollows. Habitat hollow segments were also donated to the Gippsland area where fires decimated fauna habitat early this year
  • native timber donated to Epping Scouts, a local Men’s Shed and to the Wurundjeri Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation in Healesville where it will be utilised for cultural practices
  • asphalt removed has been given to the Growling Grass Frog Golf Course in Doreen where it was used to build access tracks and driveways around the course, which is publicly accessible.

More waste than ever is being incorporated into Victoria’s road and rail projects, with the Recycled First policy requiring bidders on major transport projects to demonstrate how they will optimise their use of recycled content. This means recycled aggregates, glass, plastic, timber, steel, ballast, crushed brick, crumb rubber, reclaimed asphalt pavement will take precedence over virgin materials.

Construction companies are also encouraged to explore options to use innovative recycled content. Increasing demand for these resources will create new prospects for local industry and technology development.

The Plenty Road Upgrade is being delivered in two stages, with stage 1 works already completed in 2019. Stage 2 is expected to be complete in mid-2021.