Plastic to Pavement

India has 15000 tons of plastic waste every day. This amount should double in 5 years.

5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) of plastic roads have been laid in India in at least 11 states.

Solving India’s garbage problem requires more than a technological solution. In a country where throwing garbage onto the roads and littering in public areas are acceptable behaviors, it’s going to require a social transformation. “With respect to the technology it has been proven already,” Vasudevan says. “Culture is now the most important part.”

Gurusamy Bodhilakshmi, secretary of Naganakulam Panchayat-Level Federation of the SHGs (self-help groups), explains how the women buy plastic from a network of local businesses and homes and how they conduct awareness drives in schools and colleges. They are trying to build a local market around plastic, so it is treated as a commodity rather than as garbage. The group has had some success. It collects plastic from about 8,000 households. It buys plastic at 7 rupees a kilo (12¢ per 2.2 pounds) and sells about 1,000 kilos a month, at 30 rupees a kilo, to government agencies that use it for roads. Many of the group’s members make a modest living off the enterprise.

Amount of Gravel and Asphalt for one quarter mile of road

Here is a description of how much material is needed for a private quarter mile driveway/road.

You need a smooth surface to pave so you need to add about 2 inches of gravel to the entire area. That should take about 100 tons or about 3 triaxles of stone. Delivered laid, graded and compacted at $20 per ton is $2000. Next you need to establish how much asphalt you need. This is a light commercial spec. You need this if you ever have any heavy trucks on the pavement. Water trucks, fuel trucks etc. Just one truck on light duty pavement can wreck it. Your average country drive is 12 ft. wide so that would give you about 16000 sq. ft. of paving. 2in of base coat plus 1.5in of top coat should cost around about $1.50 a sq. Your pavement would be $24000 plus $2000 total of $26000.

One mile of light commercial road would be 64000 sq ft of paving. 400 tons of gravel. 500 tons of asphalt or 450 tons of asphalt and 50 tons of recycled plastic. If India will have 30,000 tons of plastic per day. Then they could have 600 miles of plastic for roads per day. If the mix was closer to 100% plastic then it seems to be about 60 miles of plastic road per day.

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