AFRICA’S first eco-friendly road incorporating waste plastic was officially opened at Kouga Municipality in the Eastern Cape on Friday, December 13.
Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks, cut the ribbon at Woltemade Street in Jeffreys Bay to declare the new plastic-infused road open to traffic.
A 300m strip of Woltemade Street has been relayered with plastic-infused tar, with a further section of Koraal Street to follow.
“The road now includes about 700kg of recycled waste plastic,” Hendricks said.
“The plastic was turned into pellets using a special formula and then added to the asphalt mix used for the top layer of the road.
“ The result is a road that is more durable and also friendlier to the environment.”
Hendricks said the innovative new approach to road-building reduced the amount of bitumen required for the asphalt mix.
“Bitumen is a fossil fuel and its extraction and use accelerate climate change.
“The plastic pellets replace a portion of the bitumen, thereby minimising harm to the atmosphere,” he said.
He said the recycling technology used, could further prove to be one of the best ways to rid the planet of waste plastic.
“Plastic is another major contributor to climate change, in addition to the damage it does to our oceans.
“One of the big challenges is how to get rid of waste plastic without dangerous toxins being released. This technology could prove to be the answer, as tests have shown that it actually prevents the plastic from leaching as it degrades.”
He said about 1,5 tonnes of plastic, the equivalent of 1,8 million single-use bags, were used in just 1km of road.
“That means we would have ridden the planet of 3 million plastic bags on completion of both streets.”
Kouga Municipality is piloting the new approach to tarring roads in partnership with MacRebur SA, the local representatives of the Scottish company that developed the plastic pellets.
“MacRebur plans on establishing a manufacturing plant in South Africa. We would like to see the plant being built in Kouga.
“Not only will this create much-needed jobs, it will also be an opportunity for our communities to make money by collecting and selling waste plastic,” Hendricks said.
He said the construction work was being done by SP Excel and Scribante Construction at no cost to the municipality.
“ We would like to thank these companies for partnering with us and MacRebur to bring this earth-saving project to fruition.”