Scottish housebuilder unveils waste plastic road

Plastic roads

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The plastic roads made by MacRebur look just like a traditional surface

A Scottish housebuilder has used plastic waste to build a road on one of its developments, in what is thought to be a UK first.

Springfield Properties boss Innes Smith said its installation at a site in Elgin would help tackle the country’s « plastic waste epidemic ».

The design reduces the use of bitumen, a form of crude oil used to make roads.

It has also been claimed the plastic surface is stronger than existing ones and could reduce potholes.

Springfield said it had become the first UK housebuilder to use a plastic road, after unveiling one at its Linkwood Steadings development in Elgin.

‘More durable road’

It said the road accounted for 20 tonnes of recycled plastic – equivalent to 17,042 plastic bags or 6,000 plastic bottles – which would otherwise have gone to a landfill site or been incinerated.

The company said that for every tonne of bitumen replaced, the road surfacing carbon footprint was reduced by a tonne of carbon dioxide.

Mr Smith said this was the latest in a series of green policies brought in by the company.

He added: « Now we have our first recycled plastic road in place, which gives our customers a more durable road and helps with the current plastic waste epidemic.

« We already have our second stretch of private road planned and going forward, we will be discussing recycled plastic roads with local authorities with a goal to using plastic roads on all of our developments across Scotland. »

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The roads are made using waste such as plastic bottles which otherwise would have gone to a landfill site

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The plastic waste is turned into granules and used to make the road surface

Springfield teamed up on the project with asphalt producer Pat Munro and MacRebur, a company which has developed and patented a way to use waste plastic in roads.

The waste is turned into granules, then mixed with a secret « activator » ingredient, reducing the amount of fossil fuel in the asphalt mix.

The surface looks just like a traditional road, but the company behind it says the flexible properties of plastic make them up to 60% stronger.

‘Pioneering project’

MacRebur contracts manager Sarah Lakin, said: « We hope this pioneering project will inspire other developers in Scotland to follow Springfield’s lead as our product is available across the country as well as the UK and abroad. »

Springfield Properties has already provided electric car charging points for its staff, as well as installing cabling for electric car charging points in all its private homes.

The developer was encouraged to take forward the plastic roads project by its events co-ordinator Dale Ashelford, after she learned about MacRebur’s invention.

Public body Zero Waste Scotland has previously warned that more than 64,000 tonnes of plastic food packaging and bottles are binned every year in Scotland, at a cost of £11m.

The Scottish government has also outlined its plans for a deposit return scheme, which includes some plastic drinking containers.

For more on this story and the latest business news as it happens, follow BBC presenter Andrew Black’s updates each weekday morning on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme between 0600 and 0900.

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