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South Africa's first plastic road!
Posted on 04/12/2019

EnvironmentSouth Africa

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South Africa is opening a road constructed of pellets of waste plastic.

Is it really possible to build a road from plastic?

Is it really possible to build a road from plastic?
Mark de Scande/123RF

South Africa has followed the initiative of the Netherlands and has started using pellets of waste plastic for road construction. This is an excellent idea to give a second life to products that would otherwise be wasted.

We are surrounded by a sea of plastic and instead of passively accepting this we need to take action; we can learn to consume less, and above all understand how to reuse it. Positive change is happening in the city of Kouga, where it was decided to create the first ?Plastic Road' in the country.

Almost two tons of non-recyclable plastic will be used for the construction of a 1 kilometer road. The waste, which comes from Scotland, will be processed with an innovative technology that will transform it into pellets; this will replace the bitumen (otherwise known as asphalt) component present in the mixture of traditional asphalt.

The project will prevent large amounts of plastic from ending up in the ocean and will highly improve road quality. One of the problems with asphalt is water, as it is the main cause of potholes; with the use of plastic, which is waterproof and heat-resistant, roads are guaranteed to be longer lasting than those made so far.

Will the use of plastic be economically viable?

Will the use of plastic be economically viable?
Katarzyna Bia?asiewicz/123RF

The answer is yes! Horatio Hendricks, mayor of the municipality, said that he had also undertaken this project to tackle the backlog of debts that has accumulated as a result of road repairs in Kouga.

If the experiment is positive, the mayor will propose the construction of a local factory for the production of plastic pellets. It seems that the idea of building roads with waste is cheap and innovative, as well as being great for the environment!