Department of Highways Director-General Sarawut Songsivilai has announced a partnership with Department of Rural Roads, SCG, Dow Thailand Group, and Chiang Mai University to explore and develop the use of plastic waste in road construction.
The partnership aims to set a new standard for state roads and promote effective waste management.
Based on their experience and know-how from the recycled plastic road project initiated in 2018, SCG and the Dow Thailand Group plan to further their research and development through laboratory-based experiments and on-site testing on private land such as RIL Industrial Estate in Rayong and Amata City in Chon Buri.
Chiang Mai University will also join the research study and focus on the production process’s academic and environmental impacts. At the same time, the Department of Highways and the Department of Rural Roads will provide support and consultation on the standardisation of plastic waste use as an ingredient in asphalt.
About 3 tonnes of plastic waste, equivalent to nearly 900,000 plastic bags, is estimated to be used for every 1 kilometre with a 6-metre road width. To date, through the partnership of SCG, the Dow Thailand Group, and other companies from the private sector, 23 tonnes of plastic waste have been used to construct a 7.7km prototype asphalt road.
Department of Highways Director General Sarawut Songsivilai said: “It will be an important starting point for the future of utilising waste plastic in construction and maintenance of the routes under the Department of Highways that will benefit the economy, society and the environment to achieve the aim of jointly developing the nation to create stability, prosperity and sustainability under the 20-year national strategy.”
In Holland, they have taken things a lot further. Instead of using plastic as a small part of the process, they have created roads that are made completely of plastic.
Known as smart cities, Zwolle in the west of Amsterdam became the first area to trial plastic roads. The trial took place in 2016 and was such a success that it became the first official city to have plastic roads.
This futuristic plastic road contains sensors that can help further development. They also contain space for services such as cables and pipes. What’s more, they also contain a stormwater management system.
The installation is quick and simple as the road consists of sections. With prefabricated sections, if a section needs replacing, it is a case of removing the section and replacing it quickly and efficiently.
This project was such a success that the installation of plastic roads also took place in Giethoorn, another city in Holland. The aim is to continue to roll out these types of plastic roads and even use plastic for pedestrians as it improves the quality of flexible pavements.
It seems as though plastic roads come with a huge array of benefits.