Recycled plastic hits the street in St Kilda


The mayor of Port Phillip, Dick Gross, stated that the update of Mozart Street was the first time that recycled plastic was used for a substantial remake of roads in the council area.

It is part of a two-year trial designed to divert commercial waste from landfills. The council had previously conducted a smaller trial at Middle Park.

Cr Gross said the recycled material did not contain microplastics – small bits of plastic – that plagued Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay waterways.

"This is important because we want to remove the world from these microplastics," said Cr Gross. "You can go to any beach in Port Phillip Bay and put your nose in the sand and find many."

Recycled plastic and glass that lead the way on Mozart Street.

Recycled plastic and glass that lead the way on Mozart Street.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

Although recycled plastic comes from the commercial sector rather than from poolside waste collections, Cr Gross said the project will help create stronger demand for recycled products.

The maintenance project comes after the Victoria recycling sector fell into chaos with the collapse of the recycling giant SKM at the start of this year.

The company has provided recycling services for over 30 tips, many of which have been forced to dump recyclable waste in landfills.

The recycled road material.

The recycled road material.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

China's decision to drastically reduce the amount of contaminated recycling it was prepared to accept preceded the collapse of SKM.

The change in policy has forced the councils, the state government and the companies to look for new uses for the recycling of material that previously would have been sold to China.

The Port Phillip Council was forced to send nearly 1,200 tons of landfill recycling material following the collapse of SKM.

The council hopes to use recycled plastic when it updates more roads.

Cr Gross said that the update of Mozart Street was 7% more expensive than the use of traditional asphalt, but the cost would have decreased over time.

Mozart Street is about 240 meters long and runs between Brighton Road and St Kilda Botanical Gardens.

Construction company Fulton Hogan used Plastiphalt, which is made of shredded plastic, to improve Mozart Street. It is designed to be more flexible and resistant than normal asphalt.


The company's director-general of Australian infrastructure services, Peter Curl, said that Victoria's road network is undergoing a huge maintenance blitz and it was essential to use recycled products wherever possible.

"This particular product design was developed right here in Victoria and is flexible enough to even incorporate recycled glass and plastic," he said.

The chopped recycled glass was previously used on other roads, including the Tullamarine highway expansion project.

Pete Shmigel, CEO of the Australian Council of Recycling, said that Victoria councils should commit to using recycled products on the streets.

"If this could be adopted as a general policy, it would do much to avoid the recycling crisis we saw here in Victoria," he said.

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