Budleigh car park to be resurfaced with innovative plastic waste material

PUBLISHED: 09:12 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:14 26 February 2020

Rolle Mews car park in Budleigh. Picture: East Devon District Council

Rolle Mews car park in Budleigh. Picture: East Devon District Council

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A Budleigh Salterton car park is being resurfaced by East Devon District Council this week using an innovative new material.

Instead of conventional asphalt, an alternative type of surface incorporating non-recyclable plastic waste, in place of a portion of bituminous binder material, will be used.

This product, which is produced by MacRebur, has several advantages.

From an environmental perspective, incorporation of ground-up non-recyclable plastics into the surfacing removes the need to incinerate these materials or send them to landfill by giving them further use.

The addition of these plastics to the bitmac reduces the amount of bitumen (a material obtained from crude oil and used to bind aggregate in road surfacing) required. When the surfacing reaches the end of its life, the surface can be excavated and recycled into a new surface.

The addition of plastic is also beneficial to the surfaces' properties, making it more flexible and durable, and extending its life.

Independent laboratory testing has proved that MacRebur does not leech microplastics into the environment, and does not produce additional hazardous fumes in comparison to regular surfacing. The manufacturing process also ensures that no plastic granules, sometimes known as 'nurdles' enter the environment during construction.

Plastic granules produced at MacRebur's factory are sealed in bags for transportation to the local asphalt manufacturer, who then add the granules to the bitumen in controlled factory conditions, where it is heated and blended into the mixture.

As a result, the granules are already melted by the time that they reach site, and there is no loose plastic present on site. This resurfacing project will recycle 600kg of waste plastic - the equivalent weight of 48,000 plastic bottles - which would otherwise be disposed of, will reduce fossil fuel extraction for the surfacing by 6 per cent, and save 580kg of carbon emissions which is the equivalent of either:

Councillor Geoff Pook, East Devon's portfolio holder for asset management, said: "Construction activities contribute over 10 per cent of the UK's carbon emission and so this is a key area to cut down on.

"We will continue to research, trial and use more sustainable materials wherever possible."

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