Whether we like it or not, plastic is more than critical to modern life, simply because it is used for the majority of the items we use on a daily basis. Ever since its creation in the 1900s, it has been all around us! Being cheap, it raised the standard of living and made the development of most of the lifesaving advances of the modern time possible.
Unfortunately, despite its great role in the advancement of our society, it has become a huge problem, becoming a threat to the environment and the entire planet, including humans, flora and fauna.
As a matter of fact, plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues, as the increasing production of plastic products basically overwhelms the world`s ability to deal with them.
Plastic by the numbers:
- Half of all plastics ever produced have been made in the last decade.
- Production significantly increased, from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons by 2015. Production is expected to double by 2050.
- About 8 tons of plastic waste ends up in the oceans annually.
- Plastics often contain additives making them stronger, more flexible, and durable.
The dangers of plastic use are indeed wide-ranging, and this worldwide problem is quite difficult to solve. Experts are still trying to find the best solution to plastic pollution.
In an effort to minimize the negative impact of plastic pollution, a UK company, MacRebur, came up with a simple way to re-use plastic bottle to improve the quality of roads. Amazingly, the asphalt made up of plastic will be way cheaper and more durable.
Toby McCartney, the CEO, came up with this while he was working in Southern India. After asking why so many people out there collected old plastic, he was explained that they melt it and turn it into filler for the potholes.
The MacRebur asphalt increases the lifespan of the material, but more importantly, it is environment-friendly because it reduces the carbon footprint by reducing the amount of fossil fuel utilized in the manufacturing process.
The best part? Most kinds of plastic can be used for this purpose, including black plastic, which is the most difficult one to recycle.
“We went through about five-to-six hundred different designs of different polymers that we were mixing in before we found one that actually worked,” McCartney said.
The upgraded asphalt is made up of a combination of granulated plastic waste and asphalt concrete formula typically used to make roads.
The plastic used for this purpose must be labeled as waste, not new or recycled, and it must melt at a specific temperature. The new plastic road would be more flexible, and it will sustain heat, cold and everyday weather damages much better.
As McCartney explains, plastic roads are 60 percent stronger than traditional roads, and lab tests project these roads may last up to three times longer.
“We are wanting to solve two world problems. On one side we call it the waste plastic epidemic, and on the other side the poor quality of roads that we have to drive on today,” he added.