UK’s first waste plastic road built on new housing development

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First UK waste plastic road built on housing development
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Springfield properties has become the “UK’s first” housebuilder to use waste plastic to build a road on a housing development.  

The initiative has seen the firm introduce a more environmentally friendly asphalt product on a development, with the new road surfacing material containing waste plastic. 

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It will be used initially on a section of road at the company’s Linkwood Steadings development in Elgin, Scotland.  

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The product reduced the amount of bitumen needed in the asphalt mixed, and for every tonne of bitumen replaced, the road surface’s carbon footprint is reduced by a tonne of carbon dioxide. 

This new surface looks like a normal road, but due to the flexible components of plastic, it benefits from increased durability and longevity.  

The installation marks Springfield as the “first housebuilder in the UK” to use recycled material for its roads.  

For the project, the firm partnered with MacRebur, who have developed and patented a way to use waste plastic in roads, alongside asphalt producer Pat Munro. 

MacRebur used plastic waste that would otherwise have been sent to landfill or incineration and turns this into granules which are then mixed with an activator, reducing the quantity of fossil fuel needed in asphalt production. 

Springfield Properties North managing director Dave Main said: “Last year, Zero Waste Scotland reported that non-recycled plastic was costing Scotland £11 million a year. They also stated that 20 million plastic bottles were littered around Scotland and that 120,000 tonnes of plastic waste was produced by Scottish households alone. The road in Elgin accounts for 20 tonnes of recycled plastic, the equivalent to 17,042 plastic bags or 6,000 plastic bottles, which would otherwise have been consigned to landfill or incineration.  

“Potholes are an increasing and costly problem which plastic roads could help to address. Between 2014 and 2017, there was a 52% increase in reports of potholes in Scotland alone. MacRebur’s plastic roads have been through rigorous tests to meet British and European Standards and are up to 60% stronger than our current roads, which should improve driving quality and reduce maintenance costs.” 

It is hoped that the progressive measure will “act as a catalyst” to introduce the product more widely on Springfield developments, as well as inspire the wider industry to consider switching to this new asphalt product.  

Springfield has said it is committed to working with local authorities across Scotland to raise awareness of the benefits of using recycled plastic in road. 

MacRebur contracts manager Sarah Lakin said: “At MacRebur, we have worked with household names in the commercial sector, the Department for Transport, Highways England and councils to use our product in everything from roads to carparks and racetracks to runways. 

“We are very proud to add Springfield to our growing list of clients and welcome them onboard as the first housebuilder in the UK to use waste plastic in their roads and we look forward to working with them again. We also 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.” 

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