Austroads has published new testing frameworks that measure the potential environmental impacts of road materials designed with recycled plastic waste.
The framework provides a method to test the inclusion of recycled plastic into bitumen as a polymer modifier, as well as the addition of recycled plastics into asphalt as an aggregate replacement.
The report includes a testing pathway to assess both the performance and environmental impacts, in terms of microplastics and emissions, of any plastic-modified asphalt regardless of the type and content of plastics used in the mix.
The project also investigated the possibility of recycling reclaimed plastic-modified asphalt pavements (P-RAP) at the end of their service life.
The framework is the third in a series of reports, which have been initiated by Austroads and led by RMIT University. The reports are in response to the growing interest in the use of waste materials in road infrastructure.
Ross Guppy, Austroads Transport Infrastructure Program Manager said the use of recycled plastic waste in road materials has proven to be a viable alternative to conventional methods.
“If the performance of asphalt containing recycled plastics is comparable to the performance of the bitumen or modified binder intended to be substituted, the use of plastic in bitumen may represent a feasible alternative to virgin material,” Guppy said.
To view the report, click here.