As piling recycling becomes a growing issuing, an innovative solution could see plastic materials repurposed to surface roads.

Port Phillip Council is conducting Melbourne’s largest trial of ‘PlastiPhalt’, a road surface made of recycled plastics. 

The trial begins as Victoria faces a recycling crisis, with tonnes of recyclable plastic being sent to landfill. But the new, second-generation PlastiPhalt used on Mozart Street in St Kilda is made locally from old plastic. For the Mozart St project, over 800kg of recycled car parts were used to make the new surface.

Covering around 2000 square metres, the new road surface is made from the equivalent of 180,000 shopping bags, and Port Phillip Mayor Dick Gross expects to lay more of the environmentally-friendly road surface.

“It’s replacing bitumen and it’s safer than bitumen,” Gross said, speaking with 3AW’s Ross and John

“We’re going to roll it out as much as possible.”

According to the Mayor, the plastic surface is currently more expensive than traditional asphalt, but if the trial is successful the price will come down with volume.

“As we get economies of scale and roll it out it should be a beautiful thing,” he told 3AW.

“Sometimes it’s better to be the second cab off the rank, rather than the first!”

The second-generation PlastiPhalt is made from shredded plastics but does not contain microplastic that can be detrimental to the environment. Other, smaller recycled-road surface trials in the past have been made from materials such as plastic bags and glass bottles.


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Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.

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