Could Plastic Roads Make For A Smoother Ride?

From lower carbon emissions to fewer potholes, there are a number of benefits to building a layer of plastic into roads. On a road into New Delhi, countless cars a day speed over tons of plastic bags, bottle tops and discarded polystyrene cups.  This road, stretching from New Delhi to nearby Meerut, was laid using a system developed by Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a professor of chemistry at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in India, which replaces 10% of a road’s bitumen with repurposed plastic waste. Adding plastic to roads appears to slow their deterioration and minimise potholes. The plastic content improves the surface’s flexibility, and after 10 years Vasudevan’s earliest plastic roads showed no signs of potholes. By Vasudevan’s calculations, incorporating the waste plastic instead of incinerating it also saves three tons of carbon dioxide for every kilometer of road. 

By Chermaine Lee. BBC. March 2, 2021.

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