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Cheaper, longer-lasting roads from recycled plastic, tested in UK – VIDEO

Plastic could get rid of the title of being Earth’s “nightmare”, if it was used to pave roads. The solution, developed by a Scotland-based engineer, turns out to be a cheaper and longer-lasting option for the maintenance of the approximately 24.8 million miles of roads which crisscross the surface of Earth.

Toby McCartney is the engineer who came up to the solution which promises to reduce the waste of natural resources but also to solve the growing plastic pollution problem.

Source: MacRebur

The idea came after he spent time in India and saw locals would fix holes in the road by putting waste plastic into the holes and then burning it.


While currently city roads require a lot of maintenance over time, as weather deteriorates them and potholes open up, his company, MacRebur, lays roads that are as much as 60 percent stronger than regular asphalt roads and last around 10 times longer – and they’re made with recycled plastic, reports.

Recycled plastic used to asphalt city roads in the UK
Source: MacRebur

The company turns 100 percent recycled plastic into what he calls MR6 pellets, or small pellets of waste plastic, which replace bitumen, the material used to bind roads together (extracted from crude oil) and sold by oil companies like Shell. Thus, the solution developed by McCartney could also reduce the huge amount of plastic on Earth, given that there are around five trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean.

Recycled plastic used to asphalt city roads in the United Kingdom
Source: MacRebur

At asphalt plants the MR6 pellets are mixed with quarried rock and a bit of bitumen, and, as a plant worker told the BBC, the process is actually the same “as mixing the conventional way with additions into a bitumen product.”

MacRebur’s first road was McCartney’s own driveway, and now the company’s roads have been laid in the UK, in the county of Cumbria.

Madeline Gorthon