By Emmie V. Abadilla
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is building roads out of plastic, recycled plastic that is, instead of asphalt, to help reduce the plastic waste devastating the earth.
“This initiative is part of our push towards greater sustainability,” announced SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang.
“Two years ago, we announced our major water sustainability project: to cut SMC water use by 50% by 2025. Recently, we reported that we beat our 2020 intermediate deadline of 20% reduction, by two years. Last year, we announced another initiative, and that is to address solid waste pollution.”
Now, making roads out of recycled plastic becomes “part of that goal”, he underscored.
SMC will be working with leading materials science company Dow Chemical for the project, using hard-to-recycle plastics as an alternative raw material input to asphalt for road building.
“Developing roads using plastics that would have otherwise ended up in landfills or our bodies of water is an environment-friendly method of disposing of scrap plastics,” Ang continued.
“We can help our environment and at the same time improve the quality of our infrastructure projects. We are eager to begin this initiative.”
Benefits of using recycled plastics for road surfacing include improved stability and durability of roads; increased skid resistance, which improves road safety; longer lifespan of roads; lower asphalt costs, and less waste destined for landfills.
Already, Dow has worked on projects that uses plastics for modifying the properties of bitumen, used in the making of asphalt, which has been tested in India, Indonesia and Thailand.
Initially, SMC will test out the technology in small municipal roads, as well as sidewalks and parking lots.
If the technology proves effective and meets all safety and quality requirements, the company may roll it out for larger infrastructure projects, according to Ang.