Paving highways using recycled plastics in a circular economy

Using recycled plastics in asphalt is taking hold around the world. In addition to reducing plastic pollution, plastic roads have a number of advantages over traditional asphalt, according to several companies using a unique technology to create the plastic-asphalt mix. We’re going to look at three different companies that have developed technologies to reuse plastic waste added to an asphalt mix in paving roads, car parks, and driveways. First, we will look at Dow Chemical, the world’s largest producer of plastic products. Another company in Lockerbie, Scotland called MacRebur has come up with an innovative use for the huge volume of waste plastic that can’t be recycled – and it could save motorists billions.

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In 2015, KWS, a subsidiary of the Dutch construction company VolkerWessels launched the PlasticRoad concept. It didn’t take long at all to find some willing partners in the project, and the company was off and running. Dow Chemical embraces a circular economy When Dow began the plastic roads project in 2017, they partnered with the Indonesian government to keep the country’s plastic waste from entering the ocean. At that time, Indonesia was the world’s second-largest marine plastic waste polluter. Indonesia had set a goal of reducing plastic waste by 70 percent by 2025, and Dow Chemical offered the country technical advice on how to turn the country’s plastic into roads. It wasn’t long before Dow ended up helping two cities in India, Bangalore, and Pune, develop roads from more than 100 tons of recycled plastic. After that, Dow carried out similar efforts in Thailand, the world’s sixth-biggest contributor to ocean waste.

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Dow Chemical Company Dow has finally brought its plastic road technology to the United States. In February this year, the company constructed two private roads at its facility in Freeport, Texas using 1,700 pounds of recycled plastic, or the equivalent weight of 120,000 plastic grocery bags, according to Business Insider. Sorry, but Dow wouldn’t disclose the ratio of asphalt to plastic in its formula. And that’s OK because it seems to be working very well. Just this past week, a stretch of road connecting the municipalities of Irapuato and Cuerámaro, in Mexico was completed using 1.7 tons of reclaimed plastics, or the equivalent of 425,000 plastic packaging units, according to Dow Plastics Technology Mexico, reports Mexico News Daily akroncustomhomebuilders.com.

MacRebur – The plastic Road Company MacRebur had an interesting start. CEO, Toby McCartney, was working in Southern India with a charity helping people who work on landfill sites as ‘pickers’. Their job is to gather potentially reusable items and sell them on to be turned from rubbish into something useful again. Some of the waste plastics retrieved by the pickers were put into potholes, diesel poured all over them, and the rubbish set alight until the plastics melted into the craters to form a makeshift plastic pothole filler. Figuring there was a better way to fix potholes besides setting them on fire – McCartney and two friends, Nick and Gordon, figured out a way to create the perfect plastic road.

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