The issue of waste management has been a hot topic for the past few years. In particular, single-use plastics such as cups, spoon and forks, and water bottles have been the biggest culprits. These items often clog up rivers, oceans and even fill up landfills. Unlike other biodegradable waste, plastics do not decompose. In fact, some plastics might even outlive people.
Because of the massive plastic waste issue, numerous companies and researchers all over the world have started to find a way to degrade them or put them to good use. Locally, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has become the first company to successfully use recycled plastic in building roads. Yes, SMC has just built a road made out of recycled plastic.
SMC partnered with Dow Chemical Company in order to turn the raw plastic materials into a binder which is then combined with bitumen in the production of asphalt. During the pilot testing, around 900 kg of waste plastics, equivalent to 180,000 sachets and plastic bags, were used. The asphalt made out of plastic was laid out across a 1,500 sqm test site in Cavite. The site will be used primarily as a marshaling area for trucks with heavy loads, including 18-wheelers.
According to SMC and Dow Chemical Company, roads built with recycled plastic are more durable and can last longer than conventional asphalt surfaces. Furthermore, independent lab tests show that SMC’s recycled plastic road asphalt has exceeded the standards of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“What we want to achieve is to help address an important environmental issue, and that is plastic wastes. We want to create a sustainable use for waste plastics so that they don’t end up in landfills and our rivers and oceans," said Ramon Ang, SMC president.
Hopefully, we to see SMC’s recycled plastic asphalt being used to build and repair roads all around the metro. It’s also one way to deal with our waste problem.