One of the problems with plastic recycling is that some plastic is not recyclable. Or at least economically recyclable. Even though return it depots and recycling programs have been largely successful at getting community participation in recycling, the plastic still ends up in landfills.
Unrecyclable Plastic Waste could be re-used as road paving aggregate!
Five U.S. states are leading the way in repaving roads with unrecyclable plastic waste, and so far the results are impressive.
Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, and Hawai’i are all running pilot programs to incorporate plastic waste into asphalt road mixtures.
In Virginia, officials are testing plastic in six different stretches of roads around Richmond, while in Pennsylvania they are testing two quarter-mile road stretches within Ridley Creek State Park using a mixture that contains 150,000 plastic bags.
California is paving a shoulder of Highway 99 in Elk Grove near Sacramento with a mixture that contains 10% recycled plastic from printing ink cartridges, and Hawai’i is testing a recycled polymer mixture in its asphalt that contains the equivalent of 150,000 water bottles.
So far, these programs have shown good results with no microplastic pollutant runoffs in the states involved.
If this becomes a new way to recycle plastic waste around the world then this could take a big chunk out of The Plastic Problem. There are over 64 Million km of roads around the world. That is a lot of recycled plastic that could be put to good use.
Images by Vicki White from Pixabay
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