A California company has devised a process that integrates recycled plastic into road repaving, an innovation that could revolutionize the industry while yielding environmental benefits. Sean Weaver, president of TechniSoil Industrial in the northern California city of Redding, says the polymer-infused roads made by the company are sturdier, flatter, safer, and more durable than those made with regular asphalt.
They also incorporate 100 percent of the old asphalt, sparing the air of dozens of trips by trucks hauling away and bringing in building material, and provide a new market for plastic products that could otherwise end up in a landfill.
According to USA Today, the process involves four large construction vehicles linked together in a “recycling train,” which scoops up the top three inches of asphalt on a lane, grinds them on a mill, and mixes them with TechniSoil’s G5 binder, containing from 2 percent to 2- percent of liquified plastic. The blended product is deposited back on the road, paved, and rolled over.
There is no heat involved in the operation, which essentially replaces the traditional binder—bitumen, a leftover from refining oil—with a sturdier plastic composite. The other elements of asphalt, such as crushed rock, gravel, sand, and filler remain in place.