Plastic upcycled into road surfaces

The book that turned me on to Regenerative Business was Natural Capitalism (it’s free to download and I strongly recommend Chapter 1 The Next Industrial Revolution )

One of the key challenges of Natural Capitalism was to achieve a Factor 10 improvement in resource efficiency – to use 1/10th of the resources used by 20th century Industrial processes.

That’s a stretch goal – and today it’s eminently achievable.

One recent example is the use of plastic waste in road making. This is now being done around the world. In Australia, it’s recently been happening in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and on the historic Great Ocean Road.

A recent investigation in Los Angeles quantified that not only was using plastic in road surfaces solving a waste problem – it was delivering massive environmental savings. The smart use of waste plastic achieved “the holy grail of the road construction market” to recycle 100% of the top surface of the road, grind it up, crush it, put it right back down AND have that surface be as durable as the original hot mixed asphalt road.

Pilots indicate a 90% reduction in emissions when roads are upgraded in situ, and a surface that trials indicate will last 8 to 13 times longer than traditional roads.

So that Factor 10 stretch goal is achievable AND an additional use for plastic waste is in play.