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19/12/12

Streets paved with plastic

The city of Vancouver, in Canada, has just announced that it uses recycled plastics in the asphalt used to pave and repair its roads.
The recycled plastic, which currently accounts for 1% of this hybrid asphalt mix, comes from recycled water bottles and yoghurt pots, among others. It acts as an additive, replacing traditional vegetable-based waxes. The process currently costs about three times as much as conventional methods but will enable long-term savings further down the line: it requires less heat for mixing and placement, and it uses approximately 20% less fuel than a traditional asphalt mix, which leads to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This mix can also be applied to roads at lower temperatures, which just isn't possible with the traditional mix.
Vancouver City's engineering services general manager Peter Judd estimated that if the city were to use this mix for all of its asphalt works, it would use approximately 70 tonnes of plastic and would save about 300 tonnes in greenhouse gases every year. This initiative comes as part of a wider goal for the City of Vancouver: to become the world's greenest city by 2020.

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