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Plastics in Asphalt

The asphalt industry has a long history of using greenhouse gas reducing materials such as reclaimed asphalt pavement, recycled tire rubber, and more to build more sustainable roads. As countries stop importing waste plastics, the question of “What to do with our plastic waste?” has grown. One potential solution is to use recycled plastic in asphalt. As strong supporters of recycling responsibly, NAPA is working alongside the asphalt pavement industry to better the feasibility of reused plastics in asphalt pavements. The resources below showcase the start of our research, yet questions remain related to the long-term performance impact of plastic in asphalt pavements, true environmental impacts, material costs, worker health & safety, operations, and re-recyclability of asphalt mixtures.

Plastics in asphalt pavements are increasingly a subject of curiosity among researchers — to reduce waste and environmental harm, thought leaders are developing ideas to reuse waste plastic. As a 100 percent recyclable material, the asphalt industry has a track record of conservation, so our researchers are examining the role of plastics in asphalt. Learn more about what we know by reviewing the following resources — we must deliver a high-quality, engineered product that lasts the public for years to come.

Asphalt Recycling: History of Recycled Materials and Lessons Learned About Recycling Plastic

TR News is copyright, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; posted with permission of the Transportation Research Board.