Sri Lanka paves first road with plastic waste

ECONOMYNEXT  – Sri Lanka has surfaced the first road with asphalt mixed with non-recyclable plastic waste, in a suburb of the capital using an internationally accepted practice, a Colombo-based engineering firm said.

Asset Group, which has interests in engineering and real estate said a 500 metre road from Ratmalana to Borupana, South of Colombo had been paved with an asphalt mixture containing shredded and molten plastic extracted from municipal waste.

Non-recyclable plastic waste is taken from municipal waste (in Sri Lanka plastic, paper and food waste is now separated in households) shredded and heated with aggregates at 165 degrees centigrade.

"The molten waste-plastic-mix coats the heated aggregates before being coated with bitumen," the firm said.

"The new material – waste plastic modified asphalt concrete mix – will be applied for surfacing of roads under 150 degrees centigrate temperature. "

The firm said the plastic asphalt mixture not only solves the waste problem but cuts road construction costs and makes the pavements more durable.

Tests are conducted on the pilot project, the company said.

"Similar waste plastic modified asphalt mixes are successfully applied to road surfacing in countries such as UK, Canada, Netherlands, Philippines, India and Indonesia," the firm said.

"… Asset Group believes that it would make a significant impact in the road construction sector, while becoming a catalyst for environmental sustainability in the long run."

Asset Group said Sri Lanka’s municipal waste had reached 6,500 to 7000 tonnes per day by 2015, with 60 percent coming from the Western province. An estimated 794 tonnes of plastic waste was generated each day, the firm said. (Colombo/Oct03/2018)





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