January 15, 2020
To reduce the negative impact of plastic pollution on our planet, a UK company, MacRebur, found a way to use old plastic bottles to improve the quality of roads. The asphalt made in this way will be cheaper and more durable.
Its CEO, Toby McCartney, got the idea while he was working in Southern India. After wondering why people there collected old plastic, he was told that they melt the plastic and turn it into filler for the potholes.
The MacRebur asphalt boosts the lifespan of the material, but at the same time, it is environment-friendly, as it reduces the carbon footprint by reducing the amount of fossil fuel used in the manufacturing process.
Most kinds of plastic can be used for this asphalt, including the most difficult one to recycle – black plastic.
“We went through about five-to-six hundred different designs of different polymers that we were mixing in before we found one that actually worked.”
Their upgraded asphalt is designed by combining granulated plastic waste and asphalt concrete formula used to make roads.
The plastic used for it must be labeled as waste, not new or recycled, and it must melt at a specific temperature. The new plastic road would be more flexible, and it will sustain heat, cold and everyday weather damages better.
Being an enhanced asphalt form, it will last much longer than traditional asphalt roads. McCartney maintains that plastic roads are 60% stronger than traditional roads, and lab tests project these roads may last up to three times longer. Yet, only time will tell if they withstand wear and tear as said.
The mixture can be applied to car parks, race tracks, airport runways, and motorways as well.
“We are wanting to solve two world problems. On one side we call it the waste plastic epidemic, and on the other side the poor quality of roads that we have to drive on today.”