engineering careers  Could Plastic Roads save the world?
engineering careers  Could Plastic Roads save the world?

Engineer Toby McCartney has pioneered a way to use plastic waste to hold together asphalt. This could replace bitumen (an oil product), reduce plastic waste and create longer-lasting roads.

There are nearly 24.8 million miles of road worldwide in need of constant repair.

Toby’s idea has the potential to chip away at the three major issues with road repair; reduce our reliance on bitumen which is a fossil fuel, create a new type of use for all our waste plastic and improve the quality of our roads as the plastic roads are less prone to potholes.

Toby start-up MacRebur is based in Scotland and has already won Virgin Media Business Voom Start-Up Award back in 2016.

By replacing bitumen in asphalt the firm believes they can make a significant reduction in fossil fuel usage and can use around 3kg to 10kg of waste plastics for every ton of asphalt created.

The technique relies on plastic pellets made from waste that would normally end up in a landfill such as polyethene packaging. These pellets can be mixed with rock and a much smaller amount of bitumen in a normal asphalt plant meaning new construction equipment would not be required.

Roads have already been laid with Cumbria County Council in Penrith and Carlisle. MacRebur has now agreed to trials with Fife and Cambridgeshire councils.

If the companies promise of longer lasting greener roads is true this could be the first step towards a pothole-free cleaner planet.