Recycling power poles

Ausgrid's poles for recycling
Ausgrid's pole yard at Thornton stores poles for use in the area's electricity network. 

Power poles that once lined the streets of Sydney, Central Coast and Hunter have returned to Ausgrid’s distribution area as timber for domestic and community buildings, thanks to a pole recycling program.

Some poles are recycled into feature floors, posts and doorways in homes as part of the program.

As homes and businesses become more aware of their impact on the environment, the demand for recycled timber grows.

Some of Ausgrid’s retired timber poles have been re-used in a café and amenities building in a Ryde park and a community lookout at Port Botany.

The poles are not available for collection by the public.

Ausgrid has about 500,000 power poles and buys about 5,000 poles each year.

Power poles are a critical component of the overhead electricity network and are inspected every four years.

Ausgrid has a mix of timber, concrete, steel and composite steel and timber poles.

Most poles come from hardwood trees such as iron bark, white mahogany and spotted gum and are sourced from native plantations on the NSW north coast.

Poles range in length from eight to 23 metres.  The most common poles are 11 to 14 metres in length and are treated with a copper-based preservative, leaving them a green colour.

Poles larger than 20 metres support transmission lines and are subject to transport restrictions when moved to depots, such as escorts.

Steel poles are used mostly for street lighting.