Becby Brenna Timm (Originally published May 24, 2019)
We are always looking for creative solutions to deal with our trash. It’s even better when we can get something out of the deal too. For that reason, we are going to explore five different countries from all walks of life to see what their solutions are. Today we look at India, where chemistry professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan is transforming plastics into plastic road. Let take a look at how they are reusing their waste to support their infrastructure.
Dr. Vasudevan: The Plastic Man
Dr. Rajagopalan Vasudevan of India has a doctorate from Madras University. His work in waste management is well known. He has also been a professor and dean at Thaigarajar College of Engineering and greatly impacted India’s environment. Above all, he has done extensive research and experiments with reusing plastic. His most famous work is with the Plastic Roads and Plastone flooring.
The Plastic Roads
Dumping plastic in the landfill is not only wasteful but damaging to the environment. But plastic can only be reused in so many ways, right? Well, Dr. Vasudevan has developed a way for plastic to be used in making roads. For asphalt roads, bitumen is the main ingredient in construction. Common plastic waste is a substitute for bitumen and has been used in India’s roads. These plastic roads are much stronger and more durable than a typical asphalt road. Rain or standing water has little to no affect, meaning no potholes. Because of this, the roads have a 7 year lifespan with no need for maintenance. This method of road production is not only environmentally friendly, but is much more cost effective than typical roads. Over 50,000 kilometers (approximately 31,000 miles) of road has been laid with this technique. In India, 11 of 29 states have used the technology.
Due to the success, more roads will be built and we could learn from it. Learn more about Dr. Rajagopalan and his work here.