Plastic Waste Used in Road Construction in India

NTDTV Created: January 8, 2010 Last Updated: January 8, 2010
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A company in India's southern city of Bangalore has found a way to take advantage of the country's piling heaps of garbage, by turning the non-biodegradable plastic into roads.

K.K. Plastic Waste Management turns thousands of tons of waste plastic from India's technology and IT hub into roads. They last longer than conventional roads and rid the city of its excess plastic.

Plastic waste is collected from garbage bins across the city through a network of municipal workers, rag pickers and their own employees. Then the plastic is shred into tiny pieces and mixed with asphalt.

The company’s managing director says the idea came to him 10 years ago when various organizations started anti-plastic campaigns, putting their plastic churning factories in danger of being shut down.

[Ahmed Khan, K.K. Plastic Waste Management]:
"If plastic is not used properly, if it is used only in landfills, then there is no end for this. Every day there is a generation of 10,000 tons of waste plastic and it would all go to landfills, how much you can do that? There should be an end, and after filling the land it will not degenerate or bio-degrade, and ultimately it will be a problem so this is the best solution: to use it in road construction. Road construction, if it is fully used… all that waste plastic generated can be embedded in the roads."

Khan said they have helped build more than 8,000 miles of roads, and it’s even possible to completely use all the waste plastic in India to build more roads.

A roads expert says the process of mixing plastic waste in road construction serves the dual purpose of getting rid of the plastic and enhancing the performance of the road.

[Professor C.E.G. Justo, Road Expert]:
"It (waste plastic) is mixed in the bituminous mix, in the hot mix plant and it forms a mix. It does not really blend with it or does not dissolve with the bitumen, but it blends with it, gets into some of the voids of the bituminous mix and makes it more resistant to deterioration under wet weather conditions, or it can withstand the rainfall and the deterioration in a better way than other roads.”

Plastic is considered an environmental hazard as it does not decompose and stays in the environment for years, causing grave damage to fish, marine birds and cattle that are choked to death after swallowing plastic bags.


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Claire Suarez