Plastic roads

Country: Bangladesh
Date: November 2007 - March 2008
Project manager:

This project will conduct a study on recycling plastic waste and blending it with bitumen to lay roads in India and compare with the environmental and economic conditions in Bangladesh.  The intention is to improve awareness and encourage changes in policy and practice.

The objective is to reduce plastic waste and at the same time provide poor people with access to more durable roads.

The technology is simple but innovative - mixing plastics (8%) with bitumen (92%) for road surfaces.  Shredded plastic waste acts as a strong binding agent for tar, making the asphalt last longer by rendering it more impervious to water.

In 2002, The Centre for Transportation Engineering and Civil Department of Bangalore University carried out tests on 42 km roads, reconstructed with reinforcement to examine its strength and durability. They found that plastic waste, if melted and mixed with bitumen in a particular ratio, increases road life by a factor of three. Studies by the Indian Roads Congress and other bodies also found that roads laid with plastic waste mix were three times stronger than conventional roads. Rainwater does not seep through because of the plastic in the asphalt. When that is reckoned with, the extra cost of plastic is more than offset.

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