Sarah Lakin, contracts manager at MacRebur, Dale Ashelford, press and events co-ordinator at Springfield Properties, and Dave Main, Springfield North managing director
A housebuilder has claimed that it is the UK’s first to use waste plastic to build a road on a housing development.
Springfield Properties plans to use a more environmentally friendly asphalt product on a section of road at the company’s Linkwood Steadings development in Elgin.
The product reduces the amount of bitumen needed in the asphalt mix. For every tonne of bitumen replaced, the road surfacing carbon footprint is reduced by a tonne of carbon dioxide. Springfield claimed that while new surface looks like a traditional road, it benefits from increased durability and longevity thanks to the flexible properties of plastic.
Springfield teamed up with MacRebur, who have developed and patented a way to use waste plastic in roads, alongside asphalt producer Pat Munro to build the road. MacRebur uses plastic waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill or incineration. It turns this into granules which are then mixed with a special activator, reducing the amount of fossil fuel required in asphalt production.
Springfield Properties’ north managing director, Dave Main, said: “Last year, Zero Waste Scotland reported that non-recycled plastic was costing Scotland £11m 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.”
Springfield hopes to introduce the product more widely on its developments and said it wanted to encourage the industry more widely to consider making the switch to plastic roads.
Springfield Properties, chief executive, Innes Smith, added: “Exploring ways to protect the environment has been a Springfield focus for some time now and over the years we’ve implemented a number of green policies. Last year, we stopped using plastic cups in our offices and installed electric car charging points for our staff. This led to the installation of cabling for electric car charging points in all our private homes.
“Encouraging our staff is an important part of the Springfield ethos. This includes taking the time to explore new ideas our employees may have. These ideas can come from anywhere – ideas about roads don’t just have to come from the civil engineering team – this one came from marketing.”