Technology

Willmott Dixon replaces bitumen with plastic on resi roads

27 August 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Willmott Dixon has replaced carbon-intensive bitumen with an innovative method that uses non-recyclable plastic on roads at the Ashton Rise housing development in Bristol.

The new method uses waste that would otherwise have gone to incineration or landfill, saving the equivalent of 150,000 single-use plastic bags. 

Willmott Dixon claimed it would also save 1.6 tonnes of carbon entering the atmosphere and because it contains plastic, the asphalt will be more flexible, meaning it can cope better with movement caused by changes in the weather, reducing cracks and potholes.

To deliver this scheme, waste management company ETM collects any non-recyclable plastic from the Ashton Rise site before plastic road company MacRebur processes it so that the resulting asphalt can be laid back at the development by Gworks Surfacing. Because the plastic melts into the mix, there are no microplastics present, Willmott Dixon claimed.

Neal Stephens, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the South West, said: “This innovation is also complemented by low-carbon heating which is also being installed at the site, making Ashton Rise a highly sustainable development with individual homes making lifetime carbon savings of 23.5kg.

“By showcasing these innovative solutions to support carbon waste reduction, we hope to inspire other developers.”

Toby McCartney from MacRebur said: ‘‘Sustainability is a key part of the Ashton Rise development so it’s fantastic to see our technology being used here to repurpose plastic which would otherwise have gone to incineration or landfill for the roads and footpaths across the site.’’