Ever thought of a greener way to travel? Tired of seeing plastic waste lying on the road? Tired of battered roads and overflowing landfills? A new road building technology is accelerating in all parts of the world. Roads are constructed using waste plastic. These roads are in fact found to perform better than the conventional bitumen roads
The idea seeded from the fact that disposal of the abundant plastic waste had started becoming a major problem. Plastic is no-biodegradable. This waste is just dumped on the roads and burning of plastic causes environmental pollution. Recycling plastic has been taken up as a responsibility by many countries, it is done in various ways, one of them is to utilize it for the construction of roads.
Plastic and Asphalt are mixed to form a compound called polymerized bitumen. Roads made using this compound are stronger and can offer resistance to the daily wear and tear and varying seasons. The Indian Centre for Plastics in the Environment (ICPE) has been promoting the use of plastic waste to construct asphalt roads. Long trial roads have also been made using this technique.
- Low cost
- Helps control pollution
- Sturdier roads
- Increased Road life
- Fewer potholes and cracks
- Low maintenance
How it is done
Plastic waste like bags, cups, bottles are sorted, cleaned, dried and shredded. This shredded plastic and melted at temperatures around 170°C. Hot bitumen is then added and mixed with the melted plastic. This mixture is then laid as regular asphalt concrete
India is one of the countries that has already participated in this revolution and states have constructed Plastic Roads. About 3000 miles of road has been constructed using non-recyclable plastic waste. Prof. Rajagopalan Vasudevan, who is the Dean and Head of Department of Chemistry, Thiagarajar College of Engineering (TCE), Madurai, is known as the Plastic Man of India. He has been instrumental in bringing about this revolution in the country. He was the first to try out plastic roads in his campus in 2002 which are still intact.
Plastic being non-biodegradable, this technique has been invented to put plastic to good use.The global issue of plastic waste disposal is being taken care of to some extent due to this technology. This has not only helped improve the environment but also created a source of income. Using new technologies, man is trying to negate the effects of the damage he has done to the environment at large. This one is an effort worthwhile and successful. Better roads with plastic is like killing two birds with one stone.
26th February, 2018