Indian government has passed an order in November 2015 to mandatorily use plastic wastes for urban road construction. This step has been initiated for overcoming the problem of plastic waste disposal in the country. Plastic has become an inevitable part of everyday life right from carry bags to medical plastics. Though it has made our lives easier, the main problem is that it does not decompose.
Plastic garbage disposal became a serious issue in our country when drains were clogged, and soil’s water absorbing capacity was reduced. The media too created a buzz for banning plastics and waste management. It is at that time Prof. Rajagopalan Vasudevan from Thiagarajar College of Engineering. Madurai developed a technique to combat this issue. Using this method, conventional plastic litter from bottles, grocery bags and wrappers were converted into a substitute for bitumen, the main component used for the construction of roads.
In 2006, the Thiagarajar College of Engineering received the patent for this technology. The process is simple. The plastic waste material is first shredded to a particular size using a shredding machine. The aggregate mix is heated to 165°c and transferred to the mixing chamber, and the bitumen is heated to 160°c to result in good binding. One should also monitor the temperature during heating.
The shredded plastic waste is then added to the aggregate. It gets coated uniformly over the aggregate within 30 to 60 seconds. The plastic waste coated aggregate is mixed with hot bitumen and the resulting mix is used for road construction. The process is also eco-friendly and no toxic gases are released.