Residents of the city of Vancouver, Canada have ambitions for theirs to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. One way to reach their goal: innovations in asphalt for commercial paving. Not only is the asphalt made partially from recycled plastic material, but its installation also saves energy. The new paving material is actually a mix of asphalt and a specially derived wax obtained from consumer plastics. This new mix has been named ‘warm mix’ because it can be manufactured and transported at much lower temperatures than its traditional counterpart. It requires an optimum temperature of 250°F instead of the 320° F required by traditional asphalt, which results in an energy savings of about 20%.
The technology, which originated in Europe in the 1990’s, is today produced by GreenMantra Technologies, a company headquartered in Toronto. While it has been used elsewhere successfully, the Canadian roads are the first to use recycled consumer plastics in the mix. In addition to removing non bio-degradables from landfills, the new asphalt also makes longer lasting roads. This is one of the many reasons why using post-consumer plastic in making roads may turn out to be hugely beneficial. Not only does it save energy, but it also reuses plastic in the best possible manner. A smart idea from a city on its way to become the greenest in the world.