Australia’s greenest freeway gets world first noise barrier

Plastic waste from Aussie households will be repurposed to create a world first noise barrier along the Mordialloc Freeway in the State of Victoria, officials revealed Monday.

The 32,000-square-metre barrier will be 75 percent composed of recycled materials totalling over 570 tons, roughly equivalent to the plastic waste produced by 25,000 Victorian households in a year.

“We only have finite resources and projects like these keep waste out of landfill while giving old material a new life,” Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said.

Half of the materials will be common household waste products such as empty milk and soft drink bottles, while the other half will be made up of soft plastics including bread bags, food wrappers and bubble wrap, which are more difficult to recycle and generally end up in landfill.

The Mordialloc Freeway, dubbed Australia’s “greenest”, is a product of the state government’s Recycled First policy, which requires construction companies to demonstrate how they will optimize the use of recycled and reused materials on transport projects.

At less than half the weight of traditional steel or concrete panels, the recycled plastic noise wall panels are easier and safer to install, helping the Mordialloc Freeway reach its planned completion date at the end of 2021.

“Every time motorists travel along the new Mordialloc Freeway, they will be able to see tangible evidence of how we are making greener choices and reducing waste in transport infrastructure construction,” Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll said.