A comparative environmental impact analysis of asphalt mixtures containing crumb rubber and reclaimed asphalt pavement using life cycle assessment

Sara Bressi*, Joao Santos, Orešković Marko, Massimo Losa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
278 Downloads (Pure)


Recently, the reduction of the environmental burdens related to highway infrastructures has been in the spotlight. Within this context, the use of recycled materials in bituminous mixtures for road pavement construction and maintenance has the potential to mitigate the excessive use of non-renewable resources. Nevertheless, the material consumption is only one of the aspects that affects the sustainability of an infrastructure. Other relevant aspects related to environmental issues should be considered. The objective of this work is to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of asphalt mixtures containing crumb rubber (CR) (vulcanised or devulcanised) and reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) assuming different Degree of binder Activation (DoA) of the aged binder by means of a life cycle assessment (LCA). The results show that the small amount of CR used for bituminous mixtures application does not justify all the additional consumption of resources and emissions associated with its treatment. These results are explained by the higher environmental impacts stemming from the treatment of the rubber and the higher amount of bitumen employed in the mixture. In turn, for mixtures containing RAP the analysis revealed an improvement in the score of all the environmental indicators considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-538
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of pavement engineering
Issue number4
Early online date10 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2021


  • Base course
  • Crumb rubber
  • Devulcanisation
  • Life cycle assessment
  • RAP
  • Road sustainable materials

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