Reliance to come up with a new road project to tackle plastic pollution
Not for nothing is the Mukesh Ambani-owned company known as one of the largest recyclers of PET (Post-consumer) waste in India. In 2018, it converted over 2 billion waste PET bottles into fabric. The company has also recycled plastic wastes into items like spectacles, park benches and fish net.
Last year, in a bid to create a solution for the disposal of non-recyclable plastic wastes, Reliance has launched 3 pilot projects on plastic-to-road among which is the resurfacing of about 40 km road at the Nagothane Manufacturing Division using 50 tonnes of plastic wastes. The road withstood 2,500 mm rainfall in last year’s monsoon without formation of any potholes; a testimony to the project’s success.
What started as a CSR initiative will now soon be commercialised. Reliance Industries recently announced that the company is looking to market its initiative under the brand name ‘Reroute’. It will sell the plastic waste mixture for surfacing road to road contractors and national road authorities.
Even though the technique of using plastic waste for road construction is new, the process of resurfacing it on roads remains the same. Therefore, labourers will not have to relearn the process. Since the production and usage of single-use plastic is inevitable, initiatives like these are the best resort to manage wastes.
Additionally, plastic is a more durable and cost-efficient alternative for road construction. Just like bitumen, plastic, when heated at an optimal temperature, acts as an ideal binding agent while preventing water from penetrating the roads.
According to Vipul Shah, COO, RIL Petrochemicals, around 86,000 tonnes of plastic wastes can be used for road constructions across the country, however, there hasn’t been enough initiatives to expand the idea on a grand scale till now.