The mission of the Plastic Roads project is to convert discarded plastic into roads that are better and less expensive to build and maintain and that do not leach plastic into the environment.
The technology to create “plastic roads” involves replacing some of the bitumen in the asphalt mix with plastic otherwise destined for landfills. In India, where the first plastic road was built in 2002, major floods, recurring heat waves and a steady stream of cars and trucks have proved the durability of these roads. In Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, roads, driveways and car parks have been or are being built using this technology.
Tentative conclusions, drawn from sources all over the World Wide Web, are:
- Plastic in these roads does not leach into the environment.
- A significant amount of plastic can be removed from the waste stream.
- Significant carbon savings can be achieved.
- Small amounts of contamination are usually not a problem.
- Plastic roads in Oregon will be more resistant to cracking and deformation than our conventional roads at similar sites and they will last longer.
- These roads will provide good traction for drivers.
- Cost savings can be realized both initially and in maintenance.
A business that builds or maintains roads can benefit from the good public relations resulting from resolving at least some of the plastic problem.
Potential Plastic-Roads Stakeholders
We have identified the following as potential stakeholders:
- MacRebur, “the Plastic Road Company,” is our choice to partner with local stakeholders in the production of products that extend and enhance the bituminous binder used in asphalt. If you know what you are talking about when you talk about plastic and roads, you may want to review MacRebur’s Products page. On this page, you can find the company’s product sheet along with the results of tests by independent laboratories showing no leaching of plastic into the environment and no toxic fumes released.
- Road & Driveway Co. is the local asphalt producer and road builder.
- Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) writes the standards for the types and allowable percentage of recycled materials that can be used in the asphalt production process.
- The Oregon State University Asphalt Materials Performance Laboratory performs tests to evaluate the impact of adding new materials in the standards for the types and allowable percentages of recycled materials that can be used in the asphalt production process.
- The Lincoln County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) includes local waste-management companies. These companies pick up plastic discarded in trash and recycling bins.