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Where are all the plastic bottles youve drunk? Is it in the dustbin? In fact, there is a new use of milk bottles, that is to pave the way.
Reduce waste, improve roads, and kill two birds with one stone
The Federation of South African roads estimates that the countrys potholed roads cause up to $3.4 billion a year in vehicle repair and personal injury losses to users, excluding freight losses. Now South Africans have begun to use recycled plastic milk bottles to build roads, hoping to help the country solve the waste problem and improve the quality of roads, which can be described as a move to kill two birds with one stone.
In August, shisalanga construction company in KwaZulu Natal province, on the east coast of South Africa, became the first company in South Africa to use some plastic materials to lay roads. Now, the company has resurfaced more than 400 meters of roads in clevedale, a suburb of Durban, using asphalt equivalent to 40000 recycled two liter plastic milk bottles.
A new method of recycling paving
According to shisalanga, the new process produces fewer toxic emissions than traditional production processes, and the mixture is more durable and waterproof than asphalt, and can withstand temperatures up to 70 degrees Celsius and - 22 degrees Celsius. While the costs are comparable, shisalanga believes the new approach will save money because the plastic road is expected to exceed the 20-year average life of the South African road.
Plan to promote in South Africa
In Europe recyclable plastic is usually collected directly from home, while in South Africa 70% of plastic comes from landfills. Shisalanga says turning plastic milk bottles into new ways of making roads, creating a new market for waste plastics, and giving recycling companies more rewards from the nations waste dumps.
Kit Ducasse, a management technician at the Department of transport in KwaZulu Natal province, claims to be impressed by the road. Now, in addition to the first road, he has approved the laying of an on ramp on the highway. Shisalanga has applied to the South African National Highway Authority (sanral) for the 200 ton plastic asphalt road on the N3 highway between Durban and Johannesburg, and the project is pending approval. If it meets the agencys requirements, the technology can be spread across the country.
Worries about paving with plastic
India began laying plastic roads 17 years ago, and the concept has been tested in Europe, North America and Australia. But there are also concerns about potential carcinogenic gases in the production process and the release of plastic particles in the event of road wear. Georges mturi, a senior scientist at the National Council for scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa, said: these problems must be eliminated, otherwise we are worsening rather than alleviating the problem of environmental waste.
Shisalanga spent five years researching the technology. Wynand nortje, the companys technical manager, said their method of melting plastics into asphalt modifiers minimized the risk of plastic particles. He added: the performance of this plastic mixture is better than that of the traditional modifier, the wear resistance is improved, and the water resistance and deformation resistance are the same or even better.
Roads are just one of many creative solutions for recycling plastic waste. Many companies around the world are turning plastic into bricks, fuel and clothes. Other international companies have even found ways to reuse so-called non recyclable plastics for roads. But mturi believes that the current approach is too risky because the properties of the plastic are very variable.
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