Experts worldwide keep finding new ways to recycle plastic waste. Qualities like lightweight, moisture resistant, flexible and relatively cheap have increased production and consumption of plastic worldwide, but with so many benefits, comes disadvantages. Plastics do not decompose easily and are posing serious threat for the environment. From land to sea, everywhere plastic debris can be seen and is a major concern for the environmentalist.
Prefabricated plastic roads
In a latest attempt, VolkerWessels in partnership with the Rotterdam city of Netherlands have recycled plastic waste derived from the oceans into constructing “PlasticRoads”. These plasticroads will use 100% recycled material, thus making a better alternative to conventional asphalt road surfaces. Additionally, these prefabricated plastic roads will ensure less construction time and maintenance over the asphalt roads.
Factory made, the prefabricated roads part is light weight, can be easily transported at the construction site for quick laying down like legos, reducing the overall time from months to weeks and thus will cut congestion caused by construction or maintenance work. Moreover, being lightweight, they can easily be laid down on poor soil, eliminating the requirement for any expensive foundation. The plastic road also has hollow space that can be utilized for pipes, cables and rainwater.
More resistant to the elements and wear
Made of recycled plastics, collected from the oceans are virtually maintenance free as they are unaffected by the weather and corrosion and can easily withstand temperature ranging from -40C and 80C. They are also resistant to corrosion caused by chemicals. The composition and structure of the recycled plastic will triple the lifespan of roads in comparison to traditional tar and asphalt roads.
Though the whole design is in the conceptual stage, makers in their next phase plan to test the plasticroads in laboratory for safety and durability in different weather conditions. In the coming three years, the VolkerWessels, hope to construct its first fully recycled plasticroads.
The plasticroads can made white in color than black, which can help in keeping towns cool by decreasing the heat island effect caused by traditional roads. Eventually the makers plan to incorporate auxiliary functions such as noise reduction, energy storage, and connection for light poles and navigation system for vehicles.
Plastic waste management is one major issue of the environment and such plastic recycling innovation can help in keeping the environment clean for us as well as for the future generations. Similar use of plastic waste in road construction has been already tried in the India’ state of Himachal Pradesh, have a look at the video.