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Chemical Company Uses Recycled Plastics To Build New Roads

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Usually, we don’t think of big chemical producers as the hero. But a leading chemical company seems to be doing something right with their latest initiative to keep plastic garbage out of landfills.

One of the world’s largest chemical companies, Dow Chemical, is turning plastic waste into roads to reduce environmental impact. Their combined efforts have saved 220,000 pounds of waste from ending up in landfills and oceans, and they plan to save a whole lot more.

Indonesia is the world’s second-largest contributor to marine plastic pollution, and it reached out to Dow Chemical to solve its problem. So the company then helped the Indonesians in converting their plastic into roads.

Typically, road surfaces would be done with just asphalt and concrete, but Dow Chemical has somehow figured out a way to combine regular asphalt with ground-up recycled plastic to produce a substance that’s even better than the usual stuff that’s used to make roads.

In 2017, Dow Chemical began their recycling efforts. They tested the plastic roads in Indonesia and India. So far, those roads have been an enormous success, with Thailand following in Indonesia’s footsteps.

It is quite hard to do the recycling project in the US compared to Indonesia because the States have more restrictive requirements for new roads. Despite that, Dow managed to finish two new plastic roads in Freeport, Texas using 1,686 pounds of recycled low-density polyethylene plastic.

Aside from reducing pollution, plastic roads are also more long-lasting than asphalt.

The stuff is much better at enduring wild temperature swings from as low as -40 F to as high as +176 F, which might allow it to last up to three times longer than regular concrete alone.

The company shared that it combined asphalt and plastic in its new roads, but the percentage of each material is unknown.

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