The world’s first highway paved partially with recycled plastics has been inaugurated in Guanajuato.
The four-kilometer stretch of pavement is located on the highway that connects the municipalities of Irapuato and Cuerámaro. The project utilized as much as 1.7 tonnes of reclaimed plastics, or the equivalent of 425,000 plastic packaging units, according to Dow Plastics Technology Mexico.
The asphalt was created by a consortium of companies including Dow, Vise, Surfax, Lasfalto and Omnigreen, and its application in the highway system was supported by the federal Communications and Transportation Secretariat (SCT).
“This new technology not only offers a possible solution to the management of plastic waste, it also theoretically prolongs the life span of highways by 50% compared to conventional asphalt,” said Dow in a press release.
“The advantage of using recycled plastic products is that they can be used on all types of highways, not only in high-performance products, which can extend the life span of any paved road,” the company added.
Dow Mexico’s commercial director of packaging and specialty plastics, Paula Sans, emphasized the use of plastics in a circular economic model, in which they can be used more than once.
“Showing that we can build highways out of modified high-performance asphalts that utilize recycled plastic is a step forward toward developing applications based on a business model of circular economy . . .” she said.
Dow said it plans to carry out more pilot projects with the modified asphalt in order to be able to use the technology on a large scale.