Plastic has been the biggest invention in the last century and it served its purpose in advancing the society. It has contributed to the development of most of the lifesaving advances of modern time. Plastic was easily available, not expensive, bringing the standard of living on a higher level.
However, in our modern era it has become the number one pollution material on the planet. This material is not bio-gradable, staying in Nature for hundreds of years, thus becoming a threat for the people and as well as for the flora and fauna.
The side effects of the overuse of plastic are highly felt in the environment, and it is not one nation issue, but a major issue in the whole world.
Therefore, scientists in the whole world are trying to find the best solution to solve the plastic pollution.
Companies have also taken part in trying to neutralize the negative effects of plastic, and a UK company, MacRebur, has come to an idea to use old plastic bottles to enhance the quality of roads. This asphalt would be less expensive, but more durable.
The CEO, Toby McCartney, was the one who initiated this idea to become reality as he already saw it in Southern India. He noticed that people there were collecting old plastic, and when he asked them for what it was used, they said that they melt the plastic and turn it into filler for the potholes. So, the idea came to him immediately about the creation of the MacRebur asphalt. This type of asphalt enhances the lifespan of the material, and it is environment-friendly since it lowers the carbon footprint by decreasing the amount of fossil fuel used in the manufacturing process.
The good part about this asphalt is that almost every kind of plastic can be used for its manufacture like the most difficult one to recycle, the black plastic. This asphalt is designed by combining granulated plastic waste with the asphalt concrete formula used to make roads. The plastic that is being used for the creation of this asphalt must be labeled as waste, not new or recycled. Plus, it should melt at a specific temperature.
Mr. McCartney stated the following:
“We went through about five-to-six hundred different designs of different polymers that we were mixing in before we found one that actually worked.”
The upgraded plastic asphalt will last longer than the traditional asphalt roads. It will be more flexible, and it will successfully sustain heat, cold and everyday weather damages.
According to McCartney, plastic roads are 60% stronger than traditional roads, and the performed laboratory tests shows that these roads may last up to three times longer. This mixture would be suitable for race tracks, car parks, airport runways, and motorways.
“We want to solve two world problems. On one side we call it the waste plastic epidemic, and on the other side the poor quality of roads that we have to drive on today.”
This invention could solve plenty of problems, but only time will show whether it is better or not from the traditional asphalt.