Driving Into the Future on Plastic Roads

At GreenBuildingSolutions.org, we’re always looking towards a bright, sustainable future. So we’re excited to share some green news with you today regarding a very recent innovation in sustainable construction: plastic roads!

plastic road

Two private roads on the campus of Dow Chemical in Lake Jackson, Texas, have been paved using post-consumer plastics as a significant part of the mix. These are the first two roads in America to be built with plastic—possibly the first of many!

Roads made with recycled plastic were constructed after extensive testing and use throughout several countries including Thailand and Indonesia. Experts say we will need a few years to better understand the full extent of how regular use affects plastic roads before they can be considered for more extensive, public road applications.

Right now, the roads at Dow Chemical are private and only used by a set number of authorized people. But based on the initial results, Dow already has plans to use a plastic polymer mix to build the roads leading to its new complex in Michigan. And, if all goes according to plan, this could easily become a widespread practice in several years.

plastic road

So how large of an impact could this sustainable new practice have?

Well, think of it this way.

Millions of pounds of asphalt have been used to pave miles and miles of public road. Add plastic to the mix, and that’s a lot of recycled plastic that will have a brand new home. There are even indicators in other contexts that adding recycled plastics can extend the durability of the road’s asphalt mix.  While we can’t predict the future, the potential is clear—this holds promise of making a global impact, becoming a key part of recycling, sustainable design, and green building practices.

As we continue to pave the (plastic) road towards a sustainable future, there’s a chance your next local construction project will include a road just like these!

Interested in sustainability, plastic recycling and more? Read all about the latest in green design and energy-efficient building news on our blog.