California’s transportation department is repaving a stretch of highway in the northern part of the state with a mixture that includes recycled single-use plastic bottles.
The mix of recycled asphalt pavement and liquid plastic from the bottles is being used in a repaving project along a section of Highway 162 in the Butte County city of Oroville, Caltrans said Thursday. This marks the first time Caltrans has used 100% recycled materials to pave a road.
"This pilot project underscores the department's commitment to embracing innovative and cost-effective technologies while advancing sustainability and environmental protection efforts,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said in a statement.
During previous tests, the recycled pavement mixture has been found "to be more durable and last two to three times longer than traditional hot-mixed asphalt pavement,” according to Caltrans.
Caltrans said it is testing the mixture to see if it could later be used throughout the state. Using this method for a 1-mile stretch of pavement would recycle 150,000 plastic bottles, according to Caltrans.
"We're excited about introducing a new sustainable technology and helping pave the way for utilization of recycled plastics throughout the state," Caltrans District 3 Director Amarjeet S. Benipal said in a statement. "This process is better for the environment because it keeps plastic bottles out of landfills and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels."
When the Highway 162 pilot project is complete, the recycled pavement will cover 1,000 feet of highway across three lanes, Caltrans said.
The project’s cost is $3.2 million, according to Caltrans.