At the moment, this is a limited advantage in terms of quantities. But since only 9% of the 350 million tons of plastic produced is recycled each year, proponents of the technology see it as one of the strategies that can help reduce damage and facilitate the adoption of basic circular economy practices. : reduce, reuse, reuse, rotation.
The danger of microplastics?
Michael Burrow, an engineer at the University of Birmingham and author of a global study on the technology, says: “The use of waste plastics in road construction greatly improves the stability, strength, durability and other beneficial properties of mixtures. bituminous, leading to improved longevity. And better paving performance. “
Several of his colleagues are on the same line. “The beauty of roads is that there are so many,” says Greg White, author of a recent article on the subject from the Department of Road Engineering at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia. So far, four companies have built hundreds of kilometers of roads containing plastic in Australia.
What is missing, White and her colleagues warn, is data on aging and endurance over long periods of time, because in most countries, the technology has been used for less than ten years.
The general model for various companies operating in this sector is to add polymer residues to bitumen. Asphalt generally consists of 90-95 percent aggregate (gravel, sand, or limestone) and 5-10 percent bitumen, a mixture derived from crude oil refining that bonds the aggregates. Plastic waste can be a stronger binder than bitumen, but it often replaces only 5-10% of the bitumen, although some methods use more.
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