Turning plastic waste into roadways

As we are all aware, plastic waste has become a tremendous environmental issue within the past few decades or so. Plastic waste can be difficult to repurpose and further decompose, making it a challenging material to determine new and innovative uses for.

As it turns out, though, a road in California has taken the concept of reusing plastic waste to an entirely new level, according to an article from The Good News Network.

“(It) may look like just an ordinary stretch of newly-paved road, but it’s actually being hailed as the first mile of recycled plastic highway on a state road anywhere in the U.S.

“Using more than 150,000 single-use plastic bottles, sustainable landscaping company TechniSoil partnered with state transit officials to repave the one-mile stretch of three-lane road in July.

“According to CalTrans (California Department of Transportation), which already has slated the material for use throughout the state, the eco-friendly road formula has been shown to be 2-3 times more durable than traditional asphalt pavement,” the article explains.

In addition to this material being able to withstand more wear and tear, officials from Technisoil claim that “the procedure generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than the process currently used by Caltrans,” says the article.

“Typically, the department repaves state highways by tearing up the topmost 3 to 6 inches of asphalt so it can be ground up and mixed with bitumen—a sludge-like binding agent generated by oil refineries. Since this material can only be used as a base for the roadway, however, Caltrans is still forced to import roughly 42 truckloads of hot asphalt in order to finish the road.

“By replacing the bitumen with a polymer-based binding agent made from melted plastic bottles, Technisoil’s procedure eliminates the need for imported asphalt and guarantees that the road is made out of 100% recycled plastic in a liquid polymer,” the article says.

I think it is positively incredulous to be able to witness the creative ways in which plastic waste can be repurposed, and this example is no exception.

Image from https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1477951233099-d2c5fbd878ee?ixlib=rb-1.2.1&ixid=eyJhcHBfaWQiOjEyMDd9&auto=format&fit=crop&w=1500&q=80

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