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Envisioning Greener Pavements: Recycled Glass and Beyond

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Sustainable driveway
There is a variety of sustainable options if you want to ditch traditional concrete or asphalt for your driveway
Photo: Jeremy Reding via CC

A shift toward sustainability in the auto industry has shown up in cleaner production methods as well as alternative resources for tires and car parts. More people are starting to experiment with eco-friendly materials for roads, driveways, parking lots, and walking paths. Here are just some of the different types of sustainable pavements that we might be seeing more of in the future.


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Recycled glass

Some driveways integrate recycled glass that’s been tumbled to smooth out any sharp edges. It is then mixed with a binder — made from resin, granite, or cement — then poured on a foundation. Though, another way to install it is to use it without a binder as a type of gravel.

Australians are testing out recycled glass hybrid roads in Victoria. By incorporating recycled tumbled glass into asphalt, they can eliminate the use of virgin materials like river sand to help preserve these natural resources while minimizing the amount of glass waste.


Other types of sustainable pavement

Seashells

Crushed seashells are a creative alternative for conventional pavement materials. According to the Baers Garden Center, shells are broken down to form a gravel-like substance then layered on top of a gravel base. The finished material is permeable and as it breaks down over time, so it will distribute nutrients to the soul to help nearby plants thrive.

Grass

Grass pavement is a unique way to enhance the drainage of your driveway and give it a more natural aesthetic. To install this type of pavement, a plastic grid is laid on top of a sub-base such as crushed stone, then grass is layered on top of that.

Porous concrete

Porous concrete is another option. Though it has some of the same materials as conventional concrete it incorporates crushed rock with cement instead of using sand. It has a greater permeability than traditional concrete.

Another route to go is to use permeable pavers for your driveway. To install this type of pavement, construction workers lay pavers on top of a crushed stone foundation. You can either leave the pavers plain or let grass grow between the spaces for a more natural look. Either way, this pavement allows for more drainage between the pavers, which helps prevent water from puddling and ice from accumulating on the surface.

Permeable pavers

Recycled asphalt

If you prefer the traditional look of asphalt for your driveway, consider using recycled asphalt. This type of pavement repurposes small chunks of old streets to give already-made asphalt a longer lifespan.

For more information on sustainable driveway types, read this article here. And learn more about how some researchers are turning compost into car parts.


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