TechniSoil, a Californian startup company, paved the first 1,000-foot segment of highway using roughly 150,000 recycled plastic bottles per mile in Oroville, California, United States.
“Traditional asphalt roads rely on rock for the strength of the road,” says Sean Weaver, president of TechniSoil, the startup that engineered the new type of pavement. “With our pavement, it relies on the matrix of a plastic binder for the strength, and the rock is simply a filler.”
The company uses PET, the most common form of plastic found in bottles and single-use packaging, and recycles it back into polymer chains. It is then transformed into a binder that holds recycled asphalt together because the old pavement is mixed with recycled plastic. And contrary to the standard process of asphalting which requires heat, the new one works cold, so it saves more energy.