Road made from plastic waste unveiled

21 May 2019

Springfield Homes has unveiled a road made from 20 tonnes of waste plastics on a housing development in Scotland, helping to tackle the country’s “plastic waste epidemic”.

The road, in the Linkwood Steadings development in Elgin, has been created using waste plastics that otherwise would have ended up being incinerated or in a landfill, in what is claimed to be a UK first.

The waste plastic is turned into granules and mixed with an activator, which reduces the amount of bitumen, a fossil fuel, required in asphalt production.

As a result, Springfield said the asphalt mix is more environmentally friendly than the traditional mix used on roads. Plastic roads can also be recycled at the end of their life.

It has also been claimed plastic roads could help address the issue of potholes, as tests have suggested the roads are up to 60% stronger than the current counterparts.

The housebuilder worked with MacRebur, who have developed and patented a method of using plastic on roads, and Pat Munro, an asphalt producer.

Last year, Zero Waste Scotland reported 20m plastic bottles were littered around Scotland, while 120,000 tonnes of plastic waste is produced in the region each year.

Dave Main, Springfield Properties’ North managing director, said: “The road in Elgin accounts for 20 tonnes of recycled plastic, the equivalent to 17,042 plastic bags or 6,000 plastic bottles, which would otherwise have been consigned to landfill or incineration.”

MacRebur said they use plastic waste collected from commercial properties and households, as well as black plastic, which is otherwise hard to recycle. The roads have also been independently tested in order to ensure no microplastics are present, the company said.

Innes Smith, Springfield Properties chief executive, added: “Exploring ways to protect the environment has been a Springfield focus for some time … Now we have our first recycled plastic road in place which gives our customers a more durable road and helps with the current plastic waste epidemic.”

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