South Africa to build first plastic road in Africa
By Judy Bokao
South Africa is set to construct the first plastic road in Africa in Kouga Municipality in the Eastern Cape, with an aim of solving waste plastic epidemic.
Horatio Hendricks, Mayor of Kouga Municipality announced the reports and said that local civil engineering and construction companies SP Excel holdings (PTY) and Scribante Construction would partner with Scottish firm MacRebur, a plastic road company to construct a 1km stretch road as a trial run in the coastal town.
“We are determined to help solve the waste plastic epidemic and the poor quality of roads we drive on around the world today. MacReburs’ innovative solution comprises of processing waste plastics destined for landfill or incineration and adding them into asphalt for road construction and surfacing to extend and enhance the bitumen (fossil fuel) binder,” said Mayor Hendricks.
Plastic road project
The idea was first presented to the provincial legislature by Vicky Knoetze, a member of the Eastern Cape Legislature in 2017. Unfortunately it was declined by the department the same year. Vicky said that up to 1.8 million plastic bags could be used to build a 1km stretch of road.
“Non-recyclable plastic waste, which ends up in the ocean or clogging up landfill sites, will be processed into pellets and used to replace a large component of the bitumen in a conventional asphalt mix,” said Knoetze.
“The last product is a road that is stronger, more durable, and more heat resistant and prevents water, the maker of road potholes, from penetrating easily as it does in the traditional asphalt mixes,” Knoetze added.
Construction work on the trial road is expected to start in about a month with the partners ready to cater for the costs so that it doesn’t be a burden to the municipality. Hendricks said that if the trial turns out to be a success, the municipality may build a factory to recycle and produce plastic pellets locally.
“In this case it will be a triple win for our people that is better roads, less pollution and more job opportunities,” said the mayor.