Buckinghamshire is set to become the first region in the country to have roads resurfaced with recycled plastic, following successful trials across Europe.
Buckinghamshire Council says it is working with UK based company Roadfill Ltd to trial the limited use of recycled plastic in road resurfacing “to find better and more innovative ways to maintain the county's highways and reduce its environmental impact.”
Two small trial patches of road – one on the busy A40 Oxford Road in Denham and the second on a quieter road, Orchard Way in Holmer Green – have now been laid. The Highways team will be closely monitoring how the material performs alongside more traditional materials.
The recycled plastic is incorporated into an asphalt mix and used in the road surface layer, with the aim of creating a stronger, more durable and reliable road, whilst retaining sufficient elasticity to reduce the formation of cracks and potholes.
Although the plastic makes up just 0.2% of the material used to resurface the road, on just the relatively small section at Orchard Way (280m length) the plastic material used equates to 16,000 recycled 500ml plastic bottles, with approximately 0.5 tonnes less bitumen needed than in traditional asphalt.
[PICTURE: Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport, holding some of the pellets made of recycled plastic]
Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:
"We will be monitoring these stretches of road carefully. The two trials will enable us to test the performance and longevity of the road surfaces over an initial 12-month period.
"If the results are positive, we may then consider further sites, as well as monitoring the original sites for a further four years to check how they hold up over a longer period of time."