India produces about 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste daily, of which about 9,000 tonnes is recycled. The remaining plastic is burnt leading to air pollution, ends up in landfills or clogs drains. ? Tarring one km of road will require around one ton of plastic waste. This will also reduce the requirement of bitumen by at least 10%, saving approximately 40,000 INR per kilometre.
Professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan – the ‘Plastic Man of India’ ? – leads the technology in India and believes the roads can take double the load, make the roads resistant to water, and as a result, prevent potholes and greatly diminish wear and tear on them. Since 2015, the Indian Government made it mandatory for all road developers in the country to use waste plastic, along with bituminous mixes, for road construction. However, a proper system is still not in place to implement this. Twelve states across India have integrated the idea of plastic roads into their policies. In Tamil Nadu alone, more than 1,200 km of plastic roads have been built (2017). And states like Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan have already adopted this technology.
A number of companies have projects to produce plastic containing roads (Macrebur, Plastic Road, VolkerWessels), but India seems to have the lead in already building roads with waste plastic.
Read the Guardian’s article of 20 June 2016 by Sribala Subramanian on the subject too.