03/ARTICLES

PLASTICS: THE WAY AHEAD?

Original article: 'Tasmania has created a road made from recycled waste' by:

Lorraine Chow (Reporter for EcoWatch)

Article introduction by Andrew Hart for Rights of Mother Earth

Recycling plastics is, by itself, not enough to save the environment. Even if we were to recycle ALL plastics manufactured today, by tomorrow we would still need to manufacture more. But what if we diversified the uses of plastic? What if we increased the demand on what was already available to us?

Is this the Highway to Heaven? Well, you know the saying, 'The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions' - which one are we looking at now? By extending part of the bitumen in the mix, plastic products reduce fossil fuel usage, leading to a reduction in carbon footprint and help in recycling and extending the useful lifetime of those plastics products.

There has been some criticism of how the plastic used in new road surfaces will, in time, break down and be spread throughout the environment as microscopic plastic particles. These are invisible to the naked eye but will permeate into the flora and fauna and, ultimately reach the food chain causing a myriad of potential health issues. However, reassurances abound that the recycling process binds the plastics within the bitumen mix and at such a temperature that the molecular structure will maintain its integrity without compromising the environment during its practical lifetime. 

Lorraine Chow writes:

A local government in Tasmania found a clever way to recycle single-use plastics and other landfill-bound waste by building a new road.

The 500-meter (1,640-foot) stretch outside the city of Hobart is made of approximately 173,600 plastic bags and packaging, as well as 82,500 glass bottle equivalents diverted from landfill, the Kingborough council announced Tuesday.

Toner from approximately 5,900 used printer cartridges and more than 33 tonnes of recycled asphalt were also re-purposed to create the 330 tonnes of asphalt used to construct the road along Charlton Street in the town of Snug, the council added.

It's the first road of its kind in the Australian state.

 

Read her full article on www.weforum.org here

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