Dow Completes Roads Improved with Recycled Plastic
Pilot circular-economy project demonstrates innovative use for post-consumer plastic
As part of Dow’s commitment to reducing plastic in the environment and delivering circular economy solutions through innovation, the company constructed two new polymer modified asphalt (PMA) roads by improving them with post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR) at its Freeport, Texas facility. Both private roads—Plastics Road and Gulfstream Road—are now open for traffic.
Enabled by DuPont™ Elvaloy® asphalt modification technology, these roads achieved the following:
- Used 1,686 pounds of recycled linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plastic —the equivalent weight of 120,000 plastic grocery bags.
- Covered a combined length of approximately 2,600 feet.
- Saved PMA material cost.
- Met Performance Grade 70-22 requirements.
“We’re excited about the technological implications of this project, and it’s worth mentioning that PCR helped to reduce the material cost of PMA in road construction,” said Jennifer Li, global construction sustainability leader and ICT infrastructure & construction marketing manager at Dow. “For many, a circular economy can seem unrealistic. It becomes far more realistic when they see how sustainability efforts can be supported by improved performance and cost savings.”
As Dow researchers examine the results of this project—a collaboration with Martin Asphalt, American Materials and Vernor Material & Equipment—they plan to monitor the longevity and performance of the PMA roads to further improve them for a variety of climates and conditions. Dow is developing plans to use next-generation recycled plastic mixtures to improve parking lots at its Midland, Michigan headquarters.
“Our global sustainability team is dedicated to identifying new construction end-use projects with our value chain collaborators,” said Li. “Imagine the impact if one day recycled plastic or used packaging (that isn’t recycled today) could be used to improve several high-performance roads and parking lots across an entire city, highway system or corporate campus.”
In combination with PMA projects around the world, Dow has now laid more than 26 miles of PMA pavement. This has diverted 100 metric tons (more than 220,000 pounds) of waste from ending up in a landfill as litter.
Before this North America pilot, the company began improving roads with recycled plastic in Depok City, Indonesia in 2017 to help the Indonesian government reach its goal of reducing plastic waste in the ocean by 70 percent by 2025. Following that trial project’s success, Dow turned its attention to India, where it worked with KK Plastic Waste Management, Ltd., Rudra Environmental Solutions and two local governments to implement roads improved by plastic in the cities of Pune and Bangalore. Most recently, Dow began a collaboration with Siam Cement Group in Thailand to begin improving asphalt roads with plastic.
About Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics
Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, a business unit of DowDuPont Materials Science, combines core strengths of R&D, worldwide reach, broad product lines and industry expertise to deliver sustainable solutions for plastics and adhesives markets. The business focuses on high growth market segments in flexible and rigid food packaging, secondary and tertiary packaging, personal hygiene and medical products, and adhesive applications. Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics is one of the largest polyethylene producers in the world, and is a leading innovator and collaborator across the value chain.
About The Dow Chemical Company
The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) combines science and technology knowledge to develop premier materials science solutions that are essential to human progress. Dow has one of the strongest and broadest toolkits in the industry, with robust technology, asset integration, scale and competitive capabilities that help it to address complex global issues. Dow’s market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of advanced materials, industrial intermediates and plastics businesses deliver a broad range of differentiated technology-based products and solutions for customers in high-growth markets such as packaging, infrastructure and consumer care. Dow is a subsidiary of DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP), a holding company comprised of Dow and DuPont with the intent to form three strong, independent, publicly traded companies in agriculture, materials science and specialty sectors. More information can be found at www.dow.com.
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