Coventry has become one of the first cities in the country to trial environmentally-friendly alternatives when resurfacing its roads.
A pilot scheme has seen a half of a residential road resurfaced using material containing two different types of plastic pellets, made from materials that would otherwise of gone in to landfill or been incinerated.
The pellets are used as a binding agent, replacing much of the bitumen which is a fossil fuel, to help reduce the carbon footprint of the process.
One quarter of the road will be resurfaced using rubber ‘crumbs’ that have come from old vehicle tyres while the remaining quarter will be resurfaced using traditional asphalt.
Montalt Road in Cheylesmore is the focus of the trial which will be monitored to see if the pioneering alternatives are as hard-wearing and effective as the traditional materials.
As well as the clear recycling benefits, using recycled plastic and tyres have the potential to be longer lasting than traditional resurfacing materials.
Councillor Jayne Innes, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for City Services, said the trial could be rolled out to busier roads if it proves to be successful.
“We all know that plastics can have a devastating impact on the environment, particularly when the product reaches our seas and oceans. We all have a responsibility to step up our efforts to help the environment by recycling more and responsibly sourcing materials.
“Changes to our bin services last year has seen our recycling rates increase dramatically but we are always looking to see if we can do more.
“This trial is part of that ambition and although we are starting on a small scale, we will monitor and evaluate this scheme before making a decision on whether we expand the trial on busier roads across the city.”
Figures show that 20 million tonnes of standard asphalt – using the fossil fuel bitumen as a binding agent – are produced each year in the UK. An ever-growing number of vehicles mean that road surfaces wear quickly meaning sustainable solutions are needed.
Cllr Innes added: “If the trial is a success, it is potentially a win-win situation that turns rubbish into something useful once more and gives our roads a hardwearing and more eco-friendly surface.
“Coventry City Council is delighted with this trial and I hope we can use more of the product across the city to help divert plastics from landfill and reduce the carbon footprint for road construction.”