Taking years to break down, plastic has become a menace to our flora and our fauna, endangering eco-systems the world over. To help combat the damage done by plastics, a new company in the United Kingdom devised a remarkable way to recycle the substance.
MacRebur takes unrecyclable plastic and turns it into high-quality roads, which, thanks to plastic’s durability, last longer than asphalt and are less prone to damage from temperature extremes.
MacRebur recently developed a process wherein old plastic bottles are recycled to form a new type of asphalt for roads. MacRebur asphalt has the added benefit of being more durable than traditional asphalt, lengthening the amount of time it can be used on streets and thoroughfares, according to a BBC report.
MacRebur’s CEO, Toby McCartney, says that he got the idea for the asphalt when he was working for a charity in India, according to their website. Frequently, people in India would visit landfills and collect plastic bottles and containers. These items would then be melted down and used to fill potholes.
McCartney returned to the UK with the idea, finding a way to use the concept on a larger scale. The method MacRebur uses further minimizes the company’s carbon footprint as they only have to use a small amount of fossil fuels in the process.
Looking more closely at the process of making the asphalt, MacRebur can only use plastic that is labeled as waste, meaning plastics destined for the landfill. The company thus cannot use new or recycled plastic. While this might seem like a limited amount of plastic, it is more than enough for the company’s purposes.
Using waste plastic has two additional added benefits. Not only is this type of plastic cheaper, but it also allows the company to use black plastic, which is the hardest type of plastic to recycle. The plastic must also be melted together at a specific temperature before it can be made into the asphalt.
Plastic asphalt roadways have additional benefits for motorists as well. As plastic is flexible, it is not as easily harmed by extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. It is also harder to damage, meaning fewer cracks in the street and minimal potholes.
While MacRebur is mainly using this type of asphalt for roads, it can also be used for driveways and sidewalks.
What do you think of MacRebur’s new plastic infused asphalt? How do you think we can minimize the environmental damage created by plastics? Let us know your thoughts and be sure to pass this on to others!