2020, Alaska, Arizona, Asphalt Binders, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Study: Plastic Use in Asphalt Pavements Showing Promising Results

Plastics Industry Association and NCAT study shows that asphalt formulations using recycled polyethylene (rPE) film recovered from retail locations could achieve many of the same benefits of traditional polymer-modified asphalt formulations.

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You can read the full NCAT and WRI study here.  Conclusions from the study:
Although this study demonstrated the feasibility and certain performance benefits of using RPE for asphalt modification, the scientific-based development of this concept is still at an early stage and needs further research. For example, the above conclusions were made based on the testing of modified binders and mixtures consisting of one RPE sample and one base binder only; therefore, future research is needed to investigate the use of various additional types of RPE polymers and base binders for asphalt modification with known molecular compositions and structures. Furthermore, mechanistic-empirical pavement design analyses are recommended to determine the impact of RPE modified mixtures on the structural response and capacity of asphalt pavements under traffic. Research efforts on life-cycle cost analysis, life-cycle assessment, and recyclability evaluation are also needed to ensure that adding RPE has no negative impact on the cost-effectiveness, environmental impact, and recyclability of asphalt pavements or any unintended consequences on the health and safety of plant operators and construction crews. Finally, low-risk demonstration projects are recommended to identify the potential changes in the production and construction practices of RPE modified asphalt mixtures

Photo Caption: Test projects in India and the United Kingdom of asphalt roads containing recycled plastic have demonstrated better wear resistance when compared to regular asphalt concrete pavement. A project in Texas was the first in the U.S. and Michigan projects were recently the first public asphalt roads.