Category is Environment, of course—>
I read the following article at Yahoo.ca and I couldn’t help but wonder: is the solution to getting rid of our plastic this simple?
Vancouver will be the first-ever city to use blue box recycled plastics as asphalt mix on the city’s roads, in a move engineers say is a green step forward.
Old plastic milk jugs, yogurt containers and other post-consumer recyclable material will be ground up and made into a wax which then used as a warm mix for asphalt.
“It’s actually a lot like crayon wax and what we are doing with this is putting it in the asphalt which we are putting down today,” explained Vancouver city engineer Peter Judd at a Kingsway paving site Thursday morning.
For asphalt to be laid properly, it needs an additive to reduce the viscosity, or make the material go down smoother.
This mix makes up approximately one per cent of a typical asphalt batch. The raw cost of the recycled plastic is three per cent higher than typical asphalt mix, but there are significant savings over time, said Judd.
“We are using about 20 per cent less fuel at the asphalt plant than we would otherwise be using so an enormous saving in fuel costs and enormous saving in the green house gases that are associated with that,” said Judd.
Judd said the new recycled ingredient also allows crews to apply asphalt on cool days, which wasn’t possible before.
The city is piloting the mix in several parts of the city, and Judd said they believe it will be as durable as what’s currently used.
The recycled plastic mix is now sourced from Ontario, but the city hopes to produce it locally in the future.
Has this solution been known for decades, perhaps? Did corrupt suppliers want to keep this information ‘secret’ so that their less environmentally friendly product would continue to sell.
I read somewhere that the chopped up plastic that has been thrown into the ocean has come up to the surface and is swirling around with the currents. (It’s not like pile of bags and jugs, it’s supposedly tons of tiny pieces that just won’t decompose.)
With the number of roads we have, it seems to me that getting rid of plastic this way is a far cry better than dumping it into the sea.
Actually, why can’t they lay the asphalt in two stages? The first being a big thick layer of this new stuff, with the plastic coarsely chopped up and mixed in. That layer would be good forever since, as we keep hearing, plastic doesn’t decompose. This way we would increase the greenness of the asphalt from 1% to 15% or 20%
The second layer could be the smoother layer of stuff we use now. I guess pot holes would develop in the top layer as usual, but, we could repair them as usual! 😉
Also, I’m pretty sure BC people have their own waste plastic. So, is it cheaper to haul plastic from Ontario to BC, than for them to use their own?
But, if they don’t, if they really, really don’t have any plastic… the rest of the world needs to look into that. The rest of us need to learn how to live without the stuff!
Once we do, this whole plastic road thing will become unnecessary and indeed, undoable, and I’ll have to delete this post. Oh, well….