By now, we’re all very well aware of the problem that plastic poses to the planet and, no doubt, you’re all doing your bit now as individuals to try and reduce your usage of this material in as many ways as you can.
But sometimes it feels as though the problem is an insurmountable one and it can feel as though we’re fighting something of an uphill battle, especially when you think that while around 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 50s, just nine per cent of this or thereabouts has been recycled.
Some 12 per cent of all this plastic has been burned and then the vast majority – 79 per cent – has either ended up in local environments or gone to landfill.
Greenpeace figures also show that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic go into our oceans each and every year, with five trillion pieces of plastic in the oceans right now. That’s enough to circle the earth more than 400 times!
Given the scale of the problem, it’s always heartening to hear of initiatives that take plastic waste and put it to good use elsewhere – and we’ve just come across this article on the Business Green website detailing how waste plastic bags are being integrated in road surfaces in Carlisle – a UK first, apparently.
Asphalt specialist MacRebur is working alongside Cumbria County Council to cover more than 3,000 sq/m of the road network, using around 240,000 single-use plastic bags that would otherwise have made their way to landfill.
According to the company, using plastic in asphalt has a wide range of benefits, including reducing cracks and potholes through better resistance to contraction and expansion as a result of changes in weather.
CEO Toby McCartney was quoted by the news source as saying: “After first starting trials in January 2019, it is brilliant to see the first waste plastic highway take form in Carlisle. Implementing waste plastic roads across the country would provide a real opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of road construction.”
It’s also thought that by using plastic waste in asphalt, the use of fossil fuels can be reduced because the plastic replaces some of the bitumen that would traditionally have been used. This helps to slash the overall carbon emissions rate from highway construction, as well.
And it’s not just roads that MacRebur specialises in… the company also offers resurfacing of car parks with its PlastiPark product and homeowners can give their green credentials a serious boost with resurfaced private driveways thanks to PlastiDrive, an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional asphalt.
Do you want to start your plastic-free journey today? Swap out your plastic straws for gold drinking straws and you’ll be well on your way to helping the planet.