PLASTIC ROADS

P-E-T. Polyethylene terephthalate. The average person has no idea what that is or what it’s used for, but we all know bottled water. PET is the plastic that’s commonly used to bottle water and other beverages. Think about the soft plastic bottles with the #1 recycling code. And those bottles are everywhere.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, not all of those bottles get recycled. According to Technisoil Industrial, a company looking to address the issue, only about 14% of plastics is collected for recycling. The other 86% ends up in landfills, gets incinerated, or is simply lost in the shuffle.

MEETING OF MINDS

To see how the folks at Technisoil Industrial plan to address this issue, we have to first look at another problem. California is known for having some of the most congested roads in the country. With that congestion comes a lot of wear and tear on existing roadways. Many streets are literally crumbling.

The City of Los Angeles and Technisoil Industrial have partnered to address both issues. The solution begins with the newly developed NEO binder. According to Technisoil Industrial, this is game changing stuff.

NEO has the strength of concrete, the flexibility of asphalt, and lasts 2 to 3 times longer than traditional roads, thereby saving taxpayers money on roadwork maintenance in the long run.

WHAT BETTER PLACE TO TEST THAN LA?

Recently, the City of LA paved a stretch of 1st Street in Downtown LA with NEO. The project is a part of LA’s Green New Deal, in which the city seeks to take a more sustainable and green approach to improving the city.

By paving roads with NEO, the city is in effect killing two birds with one stone. Roads that are in dire need of improvement get the attention they need, AND plastic bottles are diverted from landfills. In fact, 150,000 bottles per lane mile get recycled. By Technisoil Industrial’s count, California has 51,000 miles of highway and 335,000 local street miles, 6% of which are in poor condition. You don’t need to do the math to know that’s a whole lot of bottles.

OTHER BENEFITS

There are other benefits to using NEO, too. A common process called cold in-place recycling is used to mill the existing damaged asphalt. It is then mixed with NEO and immediately used to repave the road in a process that takes mere hours. Imagine roadwork that takes upwards of weeks being completed in a matter of days or even hours.

There is also no leaching of plastics into the water or soil. It also eliminates the need to haul in loads of new asphalt or haul away the old asphalt since it’s all being recycled. This eliminates greenhouse emissions by up to 90% because the plastic doesn’t have to go through the recycling process and trucks don’t have to constantly haul material back and forth.

ON THE HORIZON

We often say change is on the horizon. With all the new innovations that pop up, the horizon is looking a lot closer these days. Not only are plastics being manufactured more efficiently, but we’re also coming up with more efficient ways to reuse and upcycle them.