India Plastic Roads Initiative
Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics recently led projects in two communities in India that recycled more than 100 metric tons of flexible plastic waste into asphalt mix, resulting in a longerlasting road with equally long-lasting environmental benefits.
Dow partnered with KK Plastic Waste Management, Ltd., Rudra Environmental Solutions and two local governments in the cities of Bangalore and Pune to bring together the people and the materials needed to turn plastic waste and litter into roads in their respective communities.
Volunteers and waste collectors helped clean up their communities by picking up the plastic waste, which was then taken to local recyclers, who ground the material into small pieces. Those pieces were then sent to the local asphalt plants, where they were added into the asphalt mixture, resulting in roads that last two times longer than traditional roads.
“This project shows the creative solutions we can come up with when we collaborate with partners to create a sustainable system to advance a circular economy. It engages communities on a local level and provides a new value to plastic litter in those communities,” said Bambang Candra, Asia Pacific commercial vice president, Packaging & Specialty Plastics.
In addition to the roads lasting longer, the recycled plastic waste also reduced estimated greenhouse gas emissions by 30 tons by replacing nearly 10 percent of bitumen that would be used in road asphalt.
“This project can be put in place in many communities around the world. It just takes the right partners that want to see more plastic waste recycled and less of it as litter in the communities where we live and work,” said Han Zhang, Asia Pacific sustainability leader, Packaging & Specialty Plastics.
The India plastic road projects follow the recent success of a similar project in Indonesia that resulted in a plastic road nearly two kilometers in length containing 3.5 metric tons of plastic waste.