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Recycled roads

  • by JW

Alternatives to asphalt, quarried rock and natural sand. 


Asphalt, also known as bitumen is a sticky, black, highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum… The primary use (70%) of asphalt is in road construction, where it is used as the glue or binder mixed with aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete… The Canadian province of Alberta has most of the world’s reserves of natural asphalt in the Athabasca oil sands

Asphalt – Wikipedia

Which means that traditional road construction is not exactly environmentally friendly – which gets hardly a mention in the Wikipedia entry:

3 Ways Asphalt and Concrete Are Affecting the Planet | Aexcel

Whether it’s about the aggregates mixed with the tar:

Futures Forum: How sustainable is the construction industry? … ‘Concrete is responsible for 7-10% of CO2 emissions’ … ‘The industry must shift its emphasis beyond recycling and towards reuse’

Futures Forum: How sustainable is the construction industry? >>> >>> Mining for sand >>> “to protect our waterways and beaches, we must look for alternative building materials to supplement the use of concrete”

Or where the tar itself comes from:

Futures Forum: Fracking in Fort McMoney: a web documentary and strategy video game about Fort McMurray, the oil sands capital of Alberta, Canada

Futures Forum: The TransCanada pipeline >> “No water, no beer. No beer, no fun”

There are, however, alternatives to asphalt, which make use of recycled materials, such as plastic:

Futures Forum: Plastic roads

And there are alternatives to traditional road bases, such as the rejects from the construction industry, as told in the Mail:

Old tyres and building rubble could be used to make sustainable roads while recycling waste that would otherwise end up in landfill, researchers claim

  • The recycled rubber-rubble road mix is being developed by Australian experts
  • Designed to be used as a base layer, it is more flexible than standard materials 
  • The researchers’ latest mix has been optimised to meet road safety standards
  • It features one part rubber to every 199 parts processed concrete aggregate
  • Around half of the world’s annual waste production comes from construction

… Approximately half of the world’s annual waste production comes from construction, renovation and demolition. Meanwhile, around one billion scrap tyres are generated globally each year.

According to engineer Mohammad Saberian Boroujeni of Melbourne’s RMIT University, use of the rubble-rubber mix has the potential to deliver both environmental and engineering benefits. ‘Traditional road bases are made of unsustainable virgin materials — quarried rock and natural sand,’ he added. ‘Our blended material is a 100 per cent recycled alternative that offers a new way to reuse tyre and building waste, while performing strongly on key criteria like flexibility, strength and permanent deformation. As we push towards a circular economy that can eliminate waste and support the continual use of resources, our recycled blend is the right choice for better roads and a better environment.’ …

Old tyres and building rubble could be used to make sustainable roads, researchers claim  | Daily Mail Online