Recycling: What If We Could Pave Roads With Recycled Plastic?
July 16, 2018

The sheer amount of plastic waste that we generate is a problem. It clogs our landfills, our waterways, and it floats in the ocean by the millions of tons. While we each try to do our part, there is so much plastic waste already out there that the task of cleaning it all up can feel overwhelming. And even if we did pick the plastic out of our landfills, and fish it out of the ocean, what would we do with all of it? After all, in order to recycle plastic you need to have a product you’re going to turn it into.

Well, how about a product that we already use each and every day? A product that we may not even think about, but one for which demand is never going to go away?

Could We Pave Our Roads With Recycled Plastic?

According to a video shared by 1 Million Women, we already are. In some parts of the world, at least.

In the U.K., for example, engineer Toby McCartney was behind the first road that’s been paved with plastic. All it took was replacing asphalt with recycled plastic pieces. According to the numbers, this process makes the road 60 percent stronger than if it was traditionally paved. That means a longer-lasting road that won’t need as many repairs, saving money in addition to finding a home for all that unwanted plastic waste. How much longer can it last? Well, estimates say this kind of road may last ten times as long as a traditionally paved road would.

The U.K. isn’t the only place to embrace this solution for plastic waste, either. India is filling potholes with the same kind of recycled plastic material, creating long-lasting patches for existing roads. The Netherlands has plans in place to make more roads just like this one using recycled ocean waste. Even Ghana, a country that recycles barely 2 percent of its plastic is trying this out as a way to turn trash into a functional, valuable resource.

July 16, 2018
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