• Lily D'Ambrosio: Funding for projects to reduce waste through design innovation.
    Lily D'Ambrosio: Funding for projects to reduce waste through design innovation.

The Victorian government has given $2.1m in grants to ten research organisations with the aim of creating new products that can use recycled materials including plastic, paper, glass, cardboard and tyres.

Collectively, the projects will fund nine new dedicated research roles, and partially fund six existing positions, enabling industry to work with researchers to develop new ways to use recycled materials in products and infrastructure such as roads and residential housing.

Lily D'Ambrosio: Funding for projects to reduce waste through design innovation.
Lily D'Ambrosio: Funding for projects to reduce waste through design innovation.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “The projects funded by these grants will reduce waste through design innovation and create more value from our resources, supporting a more sustainable future for Victoria.

“Facilitating innovation projects like these will help build our circular economy and reach Victoria’s goal of reducing 80 per cent of waste sent to landfill by 2030.”

The Victorian government is also making an additional $750,000 available through the Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund to support projects that will minimise waste in the production process, with grants of up to $250,000 available.

The grants will support projects that design out waste in the production, distribution and use phase of a resource’s lifecycle, for example by re-designing a product to be more durable, repairable and recyclable.

The Victorian government says these investments are part of its $515 million investment to “transform the waste and recycling sector and create jobs while building a more sustainable economy”.

Recycling Victoria Research and Development Fund recipients are:

• Monash University, Institute of Railway Technology – $300,000 – Partnered with Yarra Trams, Integrated Recycling, and Advanced Circular Polymer to develop modular parts for tram stop platforms made of reinforced recycled plastic.

• RMIT University – $91,168 – Partnered with Intrax Consulting Engineers and Citywide to investigate using recycled cardboard in trusses for residential housing.

• Swinburne University of Technology – $300,000 – Partnered with GT Recycling and Robovoid to explore ways to use recycled plastics in bedding, including frames and mattresses

• RMIT University – $200,000 – Partnered with Sustainable Structural Products Australia and Bendigo City Council to create items for use in construction from recycled plastics, tyre and timber.

• RMIT University – $200,000 – Partnered with Enviromesh (Fibrecon) and Citywide to develop low-carbon concrete that uses pre-treated cardboard waste for use in constructing walls for multi-unit residential and commercial buildings.

• Swinburne University of Technology – $200,000 – Partnered with Polyfoam and Frubber to develop a new process for recycling polystyrene by using tyre crumbs to manufacture waffle pod spacers and reinforced residential housing slabs.

• ARRB Group– $81,000 – Partnered with Omni Grip to investigate using an aggregate blend that includes recycled glass.

• CSIRO – $300,000 – Partnered with Think Fencing Pty Ltd, Vinyl Council of Australia, and National Waste Recycling Industry Council working with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) compounders and manufacturers.

• Deakin University – $255,000 – Partnered with Gale Pacific, GT Recycling, and Lyondell Basell to maximise the amount of recycled polypropylene (PP) that can be added to Gale Pacific’s polyfabric product, Landmark.

• Victoria University – $220,000 – Partnered with Ground Science and City West Water to investigate using blends of recycled glass, plastic, tyre, as well as construction and demolition wastes, as backfill material for sewer infrastructure to help minimise the potential for subsidence.

Food & Drink Business

The Australian Food Pact is the latest addition to the arsenal of projects and R&D working to halve the country’s food waste by 2030. Simplot Australia, Woolworths Group, Goodman Fielder and Coles Group are four of the founding signatories, joined by Mars Australia, Mondelēz Australia, ARECO Pacific, and McCain Foods.

With the removal of restrictions across states and transitioning into a COVID-19 norm, Woolworths has announced all team members must be vaccinated in the coming months to keep working.

Asahi Beverages has expanded its initiative to buy barley direct from farmers, with seven New South Wales growers now supplying the company’s Yatala brewery in Queensland.