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Recycled plastic builds noise walls in Victoria

by Australian Road Research Board on April 27, 2022

In February 2020, the Victorian Government implemented the Recycling Victoria action plan to address how the state will reduce waste, whilst increasing recycling and reuse of materials.

To support the plastic waste stream, Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV), Ecologiq, the Department of Transport Victoria (DoT), and the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) have collaborated to develop a new technical specification for plastic noise walls. The specification allows up to 100% recycled material content and is an Australian  first for a technical document of this nature.

This project will enable noise wall manufacturers to source material from various supply lines and encourage varying design solutions.

shutterstock_2058429842_noise wall

There are many advantages of using recycled plastic noise walls over other more traditional materials (including concrete, timber and steel) including: 

  • the panels being lighter and safer to install and maintain
  • they can be manufactured in any colour or pattern
  • better acoustic performance due to the void created within the panel, and most importantly,
  • the use of recycled post-consumer plastics.

However, requirements must be kept in mind to consider whilst constructing recycled plastic noise walls including acoustics or sound insulation being the main purpose of the noise wall, performance including impact resistance, UV stability, and fire resistance, as well as light reflection, graffiti resistance and various other criteria.

Recycled plastic noise walls have successfully been trialled on the Mordialloc Freeway in Melbourne’s southeast.  The project includes 11.7 km of noise walls that have a 75 % recycled content, which is estimated to be equivalent to 30 million plastic bottles or waste from 25,000 homes in one year.

To find out more, contact our Sustainability team by clicking here.

Topics: VIC, Research, ARRB, Road Infrastructure, Road and Transport Research