Extensive testing of a new asphalt formulation using recycled polyethylene film (rPE) recovered from retailers improved performance and reduced costs.
Traditionally, styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymers are used, but the formulation using rPE appeared to have improved performance, decreased cost and increased the lifespan of the asphalt.
The study, New End Market Opportunities for Film Asphalt Project, was undertaken by the US Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) in partnership with National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT).
Testing of the material involved ensuring it would meet federal and state road transportation standards in the United States.
According to PLASTICS, the new formulation represents a sizable end-market opportunity for recycled mixed films.
NCAT assistant research professor Fan Yin said: “As a leading institute for asphalt research, NCAT was well equipped to work with our plastics industry partners to develop new formulations that can use recycled plastics.
“This not only creates a new and important end market opportunity but lays important groundwork for further testing around improving the lifespan and performance of roadways using recycled feedstocks – creating an environmental win-win for the asphalt industry.”
PLASTICS is making the research available in an open-sourced format and the study can be downloaded from here