What Are Plastic Roads?
- Plastic Roads are roads that are made completely of plastic or composites of plastic made with other materials.
- Difference between a Plastic Road and a standard road is that standard roads are made entirely of asphalt concrete, which consists of mineral aggregates and asphalt, where as plastic roads are made up of composites of plastic.
- Plastic Roads are generally of two kinds.
- The first type of plastic road is made up of modular, hollow and prefabricated road elements made from waste consumer plastics.
- The other type of plastic road is made by Asphalt mix with waste plastic products incorporated into the asphalt mix.
How to Make Plastic Roads?
- The construction process of Plastic Roads varies as it is a relatively new idea.
- In Jamshedpur Plastic Roads are constructed from a mixture of plastic and bitumen.
- In Indonesia Plastic Roads are being made using a plastic-asphalt mix.
- Since Plastic Roads are made from recycled plastics, the first in constructing them is to collect and manage the plastic products.
- The plastic materials needed for building the Plastic Roads consist mainly of common post-consumer products such as packing of products.
- The most common plastic used in packing of products is Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE), Polypropylene (PP), and high low density polyethene (HDPE and LDPE).
- The next step is sorting the collected waste plastic materials.
- After sorting the collected waste plastic products, the materials are cleaned, dried and shredded.
- Then the shredded plastic is melted at around 170 degree Celsius.
- In the melted plastic hot bitumen is added and mixed thoroughly.
- After the mixture of bitumen and plastic is laid on the road as one would with regular asphalt concrete.
Who Invented Plastic Roads?
- The plastic road was invented by Rajagopalan Vasudevan, an Indian scientist, who was born in Tamil Nadu.
- Rajagopalan Vasudevan has mainly worked in waste management and is currently a professor at Thiagarajar College of Engineering.
- Rajagopalan Vasudevan developed this innovative method of construction of roads using plastic waste which is better, more durable and very cost-effective than regular asphalt roads.
- Rajagopalan Vasudevan was awarded Padma Shri for this innovative method of road construction.
Plastic Roads in India:
- India has built 21,000 miles of roads using waste plastic in December 2019. India has almost 33,700 km of plastic roads till now which means that every 1 km road uses 1 million plastic bags.
- The first city in India to globally adapt Plastic road technology was Chennai. Chennai municipality adapted this technology in a big way by commissioning 1000 km of Plastic roads in the year 2004.
- Since then many municipalities across India have experimented and implemented this technology such as Pune, Mumbai, Surat, Indore, Delhi, Lucknow, etc.
First Man Made Plastic Road:
- Zwolle in Overijssel Province, the eastern part of Netherlands, the world’s first 30-meter plastic road was constructed and opened on September 2018.
- The next Plastic Roads was constructed on Giethroon, known as Venice of the Netherlands, in November 2018.
Advantages of Plastic Roads:
- Construction of Plastic road makes the roads stronger with increased Marshall Stability value.
- Construction of Plastic road gives roads better protection from rain water and prevents water stagnation.
- While construction of Plastic roads no stripping and potholes are needed.
- Plastic roads have increased binding and better bonding of the mixture components than regular asphalt roads.
- Plastic Roads have a reduction in pores of the aggregates, which leads to less rutting and ravelling.
- Plastic Roads have no effect of radiation like UV.
- The overall strength of Plastic Roads is increased by 100 percent.
- The property of withstanding load is increased in Plastic Roads. This feature helps in satisfying now a day’s need for increased road transports.
- For the construction of Plastic Roads of 1 km X 3.75 m, 1 ton plastic is used and 1 ton of bitumen is saved.
Also, Read: Road Development Plans in India
Disadvantages of Plastic Roads:
- The toxics present in the plastic wastes used in Plastic road construction would start leaching, which creates difficulty while cleaning.
- During the road laying process the mixture of asphalt and plastic will release noxious HCL gas in the presence of chlorine from the surrounding.
- After the laying of the Plastic road it is often found that the first rain will result in leaching, as the plastics will form a sticky layer over the surface of the road.
- The components of the Plastic road once it has been laid cannot be inert.
List of Plastic Roads in India:
- Chennai has been experimenting with plastic roads since 2011 though plastic roads may be a new concept in many parts of India. In recent years, Chennai has used nearly 1,600 tonnes of waste plastic materials to construct 1,035.23 kilometres length of plastic roads, which include N.S.C Bose road, Halls road, Ethiraj Silai Street and Sardar Patel Street.
- Pune municipal corporation has constructed a 150 meter long stretch of Bhagat lane using bitumen technology on waste plastic, to construct a plastic road at Navi Peth near Vaikunth Crematorium in 2016. The other places in Pune where plastic roads are constructed include Dattawadi Kaka Halwai Lane, Katraj Dairy, Magarpatta City HCMTR Road, Kavde Mala Road, Koregaon Park Lane No 3 and Yeravada Sadal Baba Darga Road from Chandrama Chowk.
- In Jamshedpur JUSCO (Jamshedpur Utility and Services Company), which is a subsidiary company of Tata Steel, constructed a twelve to fifteen km road in the steel city as well as in Tata Steel Works using the plastic road. This includes a nearly 1 km stretch in Ranchi, 500m stretch each in Dhurwa and Morabadi, 3 km of plastic roads in Chas and Jamtara each and 500m stretch in Giridih.
- In Madhya Pradesh near Indore, the Madhya Pradesh Rural Road Development Authority (MPRRDA) has constructed around 35 km of plastic roads in 17 districts with waste plastic materials on 2014.
- In Surat in January 2017, the idea of using plastic-bitumen mix to construct roads was executed. The problem of potholes was greatly reduced as no cracks developed in a place where roads were layered with waste plastic.
- In Meghalaya the use of Plastic waste technology for road construction has penetrated deeply and was used in constructing a kilometre long plastic road by converting 430 kgs of plastic waste from a village. This road was constructed in the year 2018.