Plastic Waste Is Being Recycled In Road Construction in The City Of Chennai In India

Plastic waste is a huge environmental issue in countries like India because there are waste management, sorting and recycling issues that are still not put in practice.

In India, roads made from shredded plastic are proving a popular solution to tackling waste and extreme weather. The Guardian newspaper has an article describing the person behind it and the roads that are being paved by recycling plastic as an ingredient when laying down roads.

Jambulingam Street was one of India’s first plastic roads… Built in 2002, it has not developed the mosaic of cracks, potholes or craters that typically make their appearance after it rains. Holding the road together is an unremarkable material: a cheap, polymer glue made from shredded waste plastic….

…While polymer roads in the US are made with asphalt that comes pre-mixed with a polymer, plastic tar roads are a frugal invention, made with a discarded, low-grade polymer. Every kilometer of this kind of road uses the equivalent of 1m plastic bags, saving around one tonne of asphalt and costing roughly 8% less than a conventional road. Dr R Vasudevan, a chemistry professor and dean at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai, came up with the idea through trial and error, sprinkling shredded plastic waste over hot gravel and coating the stones in a thin film of plastic. He then added the plastic-coated stones to molten tar, or asphalt. Plastic and tar bond well together because both are petroleum products. The process was patented in 2006.

Dr R Vasudevan, a chemistry professor and dean at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai.
Dr R Vasudevan, a chemistry professor and dean at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai. Photograph: Sribala Subramanian

A modified version of the road which adds road scrap to plastic-coated gravel was tested out in March this year on a highway connecting Chennai with Villupuram. It was the first time plastic road technology was used for a national highway. It is expected to reduce construction costs by 50%.

 

These are what I call ‪accessible‬ , ‎affordable‬, frugal, ‎sustainable‬ ‪solutions‬.
Read the whole article on The Guardian here.

Author: Venkata Gandikota

Venkata has more than 13 years of technical engineering, research, ideation, strategy and business modeling experience. Based on his experience with the Indian market and realizing also the need for affordable & sustainable solutions for Finland and other European markets, he started The Nordic Frugal Innovation Society in late 2013 with 2 colleagues. By organizing ideation workshops and 2 major conferences involving Cities, Universities, and businesses he started to mainstream the concept in Finland and the Nordics. Gandikota has also written several articles focusing on frugal innovations in the Finnish media. He has also been helping Finnish businesses in India as CEO of Indianeer Consulting and gives guest lectures at JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä. He has a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from India and a Masters in Environmental Engineering from USA.