Friday, July 20, 2018

Plastic Roads

Screenshot from the Macrebur website
I often wonder if studying Environmental Science in the late seventies was a decade or two too early. Were we ahead of the curve in a world that was only just waking up to some of the realities of what we were doing to our environment? Perhaps it's still true given that we have an incumbent in the White House who denies climate change, has relaxed EPA targets for the coal industry and apparently would prefer fossil fuels rather than have a wind farm obscure his view across a golf course.

Anyway, I still consider environmental stuff to be an area of interest, and it's clearly something that should concern us all. I keep an eye on the developments of ocean clean-up programmes, and would one-day love to build a near-zero carbon footprint house. Personally I'd like to see all new build housing have solar panels and battery storage, rainwater collection and recycling. Although I've never investigated it, I wonder if that's part of the reason some new developments have ponds and lakes so that rather than sending all the rainwater into the sewer system, it diverts to a water feature.

Back to the point, plastic roads. While we look to reduce the amount of unnecessary plastic used in our day-to-day lives, we also need to think about what to do with the accumulated waste, and that's where plastic roads come into the picture. Some time ago I saw a short news item about a company that was investing in and developing the use of plastic waste as an additive for road surfacing. A recent article in the Guardian reminded me of this and I did a quick search for the company.

It's working. Road surfaces are being laid across the country using a pelletised form of recycled plastic as part of the mix. Not only is this using waste, it's also potentially extending the life of the road surface and of course reducing the usage of raw materials. You can read more about it on the company's website: Macrebur.

I've written to my local councillors to see if my council is exploring the idea and I hope they either are or will be doing so.

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