Garbage Recycling 🚧: Can We Use Waste Plastic To Build Better Roads And Homes?
In recent blogs, we have covered the developing waste and recycling crisis in Australia as China is no longer prepared to process the garbage recycling that we send to them each year. The clampdown by China on low-quality recycling products – means that Australia (and many other countries) need to find a sustainable processing system and output for the garbage recycling collected. We would also want to process the garbage and add them to roads or houses for the sustainable future of recycling in Australia.
Waster helps small Aussie businesses boost their recycling, save costs and not worry about bin collections. See our blog on upcycling.
Additionally, we deliver our services on flexible 30-day agreements, so you never need to worry about rollover clauses or lock-in contracts again.
Furthermore, we do not charge hidden extras and make garbage collection super easy. You can book all your waste collection and recycling needs as well as services such as sanitary bins online today:
What Are Our Options?
Fundamentally, if we can not send garbage recycling to China, we need to select one of the options as below:
- Send all unprocessed waste to a landfill.
- Incinerate the waste to produce energy such as in Sweden
- Invest in new recycling facilities so we do not need to send the product overseas.
Of the options above, the third option, to recycle rubbish in Australia is probably the most palatable from an environmental standpoint.
The problem with this option is that we need a real manufacturing base that can actually use the recycled product. Otherwise, it will be stockpiled, sent to landfill after all, or sold overseas. However, there is limited demand for further recycling to be shipped overseas.
In today’s blog, we will look at the possibility of using recycled plastic to build better roads and homes.
Can We Build Better Roads From The Collected Garbage Up For Recycling?
We recently covered how bacteria could make plastic waste disappear, but maybe waste plastic could be very valuable after all.
Recently the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) suggested that Australia puts $150m into building sustainable solutions for the crisis.
Quoting the ABC:
“Once the material is separated, cleaned and ground up, it would probably be able to be sold to the international market.
But that still means shipping our waste overseas and relying on those countries’ systems continuing to buy it.
To create demand in Australia, ACOR has called for the Government to invest:
- $20m in preferentially choosing to buy recycled material when it builds roads and other infrastructure
- $8m for research and innovation
- $4m for a scheme to encourage the public to buy recycled products”
Obviously, one of the most promising large volume solutions for plastic waste would be to use it to help construct new roads.
MacReBur is a company that manufactures plastic pellets for use in road construction:
“What we’re able to do is to take this plastic that has been thrown away, and use a special formula to clean it off, create pellets using it, and then use those pellets to add to a mixture of rocks and bitumen to make longer-lasting roads.”
Benefits Of These New Roads Made From Garbage Recycling
The reported benefits from these roads are manifold and include:
- reduce plastic waste going to landfill
- 60% tougher than asphalt
- easily modified to suit different environments
- reduces potholes
- easily left holes in the road for wiring, etc.
- easily assembled and fitted
- reduces the need for fossil fuels – which asphalt uses
- possibility of heated roads so as to prevent freezing
- cheaper to use
All in all – it sounds like a great option. See our blog on green waste disposal.
You can see a video below from the BBC extolling the benefits of plastic roads and even asking if they save the planet:
What About Better Homes?
Concrete is one of the few low technology products that is not transported overseas. Naturally, due to the weight, it makes sense to manufacture it in developed countries.
Is it possible to use recycled plastic to manufacture homes also to boost garbage recycling?
The answer is that it is possible and is already happening in numerous countries around the world.
Fortune magazine reports that a company is doing that in Bogota, Colombia. The company Conceptos Plásticos uses waste rubber and plastic to make construction materials.
“The materials are thoroughly cleaned, before being ground into a rough power, mixed, melted and extruded into a range of shapes – mostly beams, blocks and pillars – which lock together to form buildings.”
The buildings can be put together very quickly. “Oscar’s plastic homes can be assembled remarkably quickly – a 40 m2house divided into two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, dining room and kitchen, and can be built by four people in just five days”.
Closer to Australia, a New Zealand inventor called Peter Lewis is also developing homes from plastic.
Check out his company byfusion.com which manufactures plastic blocks from all plastic waste.
ByFusion washes and dries, and then forms the plastic waste into large blocks called Replast.
ByFusion is capable of producing blocks in various shapes, sizes and weights to suit many manufacturing needs.
- 95% lower greenhouse gas emissions than concrete and will not crumble under pressure.
- excellent sound and heat insulation
- stronger than bricks
To my reading, this sounds like it will be a key part of the future of garbage recycling in Australia.
Future Of Garbage Recycling: Conclusion
These sort of solutions are vital for us to overcome the garbage recycling crisis. We ask here if they are a good idea – or is it delaying the problem.
Waster is very confident that we can overcome these problems if we work together and do not hide from the magnitude of the problem.
Additionally, the future of garbage recycling is uncertain at the moment, but ideas like this will definitely help us keep waste costs down and benefit the environment.
It is likely that government legislation to favour these technologies will be needed.
It is also possible to use recycled glass in the construction of these roads.
You can also use recycled tyres to make rubber bricks.