Did you know that recycled plastics may be used as a partial substitute for Bitumen to help construct the roads we walk and drive on every day?
For decades road surfaces have been traditionally created from crushed aggregates and Bitumen. It acts like a binder to stick aggregates together before it is laid, rolled flat, and dried to form a hard waterproof surface called asphalt.
So Why Diversify From Bitumen?
Bitumen is produced through the distillation of crude oil. When Bitumen is converted to asphalt, significant gases are released into the atmosphere, and this chemical reaction adds to the greenhouse gas effect on our planet.
Using recycled plastic in pavement construction is much more sustainable. As well as reducing the amount of plastic sent to landfill, this manufacturing process also emits fewer greenhouse gases and, therefore, impacts positively on global warming.
Different types of plastics may be added to the mix. These include carrier bags, disposable cups, polyethylene, and polypropylene foams.
The waste plastic is shredded and coated over aggregate and mixed with hot bitumen and resulted mix is used for pavement construction.
Certain waste and by-products, such as construction and demolition debris, are being used as aggregates, which increases the sustainability of asphalt.
This new green initiative is already being trialed in the United States, Pakistan, India, the UK, Australia, Indonesia, and the Netherlands.
Research continues on this subject, and it seems that plastic could also add strength, longevity, and smoothness to the road.
Recycled plastic seems to be working very well as a substitute for Bitumen, but researchers continue to monitor the longevity and strength of products over many years.