Plastic waste is a chronic problem in most countries. Plastics are not bio-degradable. Most environmental scientists are trying to find a solution to this problem. It seems their hard work is yielding fruit, and finally, there is some good news.
The plastic waste now finds use in making roads. The roads are also durable, and with a life span three times that of conventional asphalt surfaced roads.
Ecofriendly And Durable
At first sight, the road looks just like any other freshly paved road. However, it is the first mile of recycled plastic highway on a state roadway. Sustainable landscaping company TechniSoil in partnership with state transit officials, repaved the one-mile stretch of three-lane road in July. The primary ingredient was 150,000 single-use plastic bottles.
California Department of Transportation has already approved the use of recycled plastics throughout the state. The new material is eco-friendly and very durable, according to Wasteadvantagemag.com. Roads made of the recycled material are also more resistant to the vagaries of nature. The use of recyclable plastics also consumes less energy and generates 9 percent fewer greenhouse gases.
Less Dependence On Imports
The standard process of repaving the road surface requires tearing up the top 3 to 6 inches of asphalt. Bitumen (a sludge-like binding agent, produced as a by-product by oil refineries) and asphalt are mixed together. CalTrans imports roughly 42 truckloads of hot asphalt to finish the road.
Replacing the bitumen with a polymer-based binding agent made from melted plastic bottles eliminates the need for imported asphalt. Technisoil completed the pilot project in Butte County. They have also begun launching additional plastic road projects across California. Caltrans District 3 Director, Amarjeet S. Benipal said that the benefits from the process are manifold. We can also keep our landfills free from plastics. It also generates fewer greenhouse gases, and the final product is durable and eco-friendly.