Recycled Plastics Vying for Asphalt’s Job
Even the road less traveled is probably paved with asphalt.
Asphalt has been the number one, top dog, only-game-in-town material mix for mostly all of our roads for what seems like forever. But, nothing lasts forever; asphalt might soon be feeling the heat from some healthy competition—competition in the form of recycled plastics.
Motor Trend writer Kelly Pleskot reports that MacRebur, a startup in the U.K., is working to build roads that are sustainable.
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MacRebur has created a product named “MR6,” which is a mix of waste plastics that the company has molded into pellets. According to MacRebur, the “MR6 pellets replace costly fossil fuel bitumen in the road mix.” The pellets are made from 100% recycled waste plastics that is a mixture of commercial, farm, and household waste, according to BBC News. It is a more eco-friendly substitute for the crude oil-extracted bitumen that is a traditional component of most of our 24.8 million roads in the world today, according to Pleskot.
“At MacRebur, we have found one simple, clever invention with which we intend to solve three world challenges—use up millions of tons of waste plastic that sit in our landfills; reduce the millions spent on new roads, maintenance, and pothole repair; make our roads stronger and longer lasting,” states MacRebur.
According to MacRebur, waste plastics pose a frightening problem; every year there is an increase in the production of plastic with over 40 percent of plastic waste left to rot in landfills while our oceans are contaminated with approximately five trillion bits, and “there is no current recyclying scheme that uses up waste plastics in roads.”
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MacRebur believes that its MR6 product of waste plastic pellets can be a stunning solution to the negative consequences of traditional asphalt roads.
To see how MacRebur’s plan for sustainable roads would materialize, check out this video from BBC News: