While technology makes the world feel smaller, the growing population means more demand to create community spaces in new areas. One of the issues with adding more pavement is the resources it takes to generate substances like asphalt.
The more researchers looked at the issue, the more they considered alternatives, like recycled plastic.
Here’s what you should know about plastic roads and how they can support the future.
Plastic doesn’t die
The main issue with plastic is that it takes a long time (over 400 years) to decompose. Eventually, when plastic does decompose, it does not do it in the traditional sense.
While biodegradable materials, like wood, eventually break down into usable forms, like soil, plastic simply breaks into smaller pieces over a long period. This means that the plastic never truly decomposes; it just becomes smaller.
Finding a new purpose
Over the years, people have continued finding new uses for old plastic in everyday items like sneakers and yoga mats. Although it helps put some plastic to use, the impact is relatively small. Plastic roads promise to use more of the available recyclable plastic while remaining cost-competitive.
There is still controversy
According to other environmentalists, the issue is not finding uses for old plastic but educating people on how to get their used plastic to the appropriate place. Environmental consultant Ted Siegler says that using plastic for roads puts them to a lower use when there are areas with higher profit margins and greater demand.
Currently, a few places across the country and abroad are implementing plastic in their roadways. Time will tell if more cities will adopt this new technology.