Vancouver Uses "Warm Mix" Paving Process, Uses Recycled Plastic in Asphalt
The Canadian city of Vancouver is using innovative materials to pave its new roads: asphalt made up of wax from recycled plastic. The city is calling the asphalt mix a "warm mix" paving process, according to Fast Coexist. Using a warm mix, as Fast Coexist explains, allows asphalt to be "produced and transported at lower temperatures." Using lower temperatures means that 20 percent less gas is used to heat the warm mix asphalt. Produced by GreenMantra Technologies, a Toronto-based company, the warm mix asphalt is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic waste.
Karyn Magnusson from the city's engineering services told Gizmag that warm mix asphalt is not a new concept. "What is unique in our application is using a wax that was derived from recycled plastics," Magnusson said. "We have been trialing warm mix since 2008 with different kinds of additives designed to reduce the viscosity to make placement easier at lower temperatures. We have now paved three sections of Vancouver roads with this latest trial."
Magnusson said that in the spring the city will do "some more trails." The city has "some work to do yet evaluating this trial, but if our testing continues to show the benefits we were anticipating then we would love to embrace this as the norm rather than as a special mix." She added that the city would like to "see somebody begin to produce this wax locally."
Using recycled materials to pave its roads will help Vancouver to reach its goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020. The city developed the Green City Action Plan developed for just that purpose, called Greenest City 2020. The city of Vancouver's website describes the plan as a "bold initiative that will address Vancouver's environmental challenges." The plans consist of 10 small plans that have either long term goals (2050) or medium term goals (2020). The ten plans address three main areas: carbon, waste and ecosystems.
Green City Action Plan Goals:
- Reduce "community-based" greenhouse gas emissions by 5% from 1990 levels
- Develop "neighborhood-scale" renewable energy projects
- Create "compact neighborhoods with higher density"
- Plan and implement a comprehensive corporate waste reduction and diversion program for all city facilities
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Road image via Shutterstock.