The UK's Department for Transport (DfT) has approved the use of a plastic roads additive developed by Scottish company MacRebur. The product is said to be the first of its kind to meet the standard for use in the UK's public highways.
The MacRebur product is made from non-recyclable waste plastic that is processed and added to the asphalt. The product comprises granulated waste plastic and a bonding agent to reduce the amount of bitumen to create asphalt.
The additive was developed after four years of research under the auspices of the municipal engineer's organization-the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT).
ADEPT researched the short- and long-term effects of the additive in Cumbria with funding from the DfT.
The additive enables 1 km of road to be constructed using an equivalent of 740,541 single-use plastic bags. One tonne of the mix is claimed to offset 9.18 kg of CO₂ emissions.
The product underwent trials to assess the use of waste plastic in asphalt and was found to the principles of EN 13108 in line with equivalent non-plastic asphalt, and all schemes have met standards in line with BS594987.
The Cumbria County Council will continue to use waste plastic additives in a bid to move towards further use of waste plastics as a part bitumen replacement for road surfacing schemes throughout the county.