Plastic roads

22nd July 2019 - Nellie

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I was driving to pick up some recycling at the beach the other day and it got me thinking. There is so much waste plastic. We all know it’s causing harm and we know we have to stop using it, but is there something GOOD it can be used for?

When I returned to the yard I searched the internet to find out what people were doing. Being a truck and doing so much driving one story really stuck in my mind!

Plastic roads!

Could they help save the planet? After all, there are nearly 24.8 million miles of road worldwide, all in need of constant repair.

A really clever man called Toby McCartney has pioneered a way to use plastic waste to hold together asphalt. This could replace bitumen (an oil product),  reduce plastic waste and create longer-lasting roads.

Toby’s brilliant idea has the potential to chip away at the three major issues with bad roads around the world.

  • reduce our reliance on bitumen which is a fossil fuel
  • create a new type of use for all our waste plastic
  • improve the quality of our roads as the plastic roads are less prone to potholes

By replacing bitumen in asphalt Toby and his company believe they can make a significant reduction in fossil fuel usage and can use lots and lots of waste plastic for every ton of asphalt created.

Their technique relies on plastic pellets made from waste that would normally end up in a landfill. These pellets can be mixed with rock and a much smaller amount of bitumen.

The great news is that roads have already been laid around some countries and trials are going to take place in many more! If Toby’s promise of longer-lasting greener roads is true this could be the first step towards a pothole-free cleaner planet.

If Toby can find a way to use plastics for the good of the planet, can you? Think of a great way to use something for the better, or reduce use altogether.

Who knows, I could be writing about you next!

See you soon,

Nellie