Many road construction and maintenance projects are increasingly using recycled material as pavement material. Most of the times, generic sustainability evaluations are ascribed to recycled products without fully considering their performance. The potential environmental benefits of various alternatives can be analytically evaluated with Life Cycle Assessment while many performance indicators can be found through laboratory and field tests. However, it is highly uncommon for these two approaches to be combined in the same assessment methodology and most of the analyses rely on one or the other. Trading off between environmental advantages and performance and durability in the field is considered of utmost importance when evaluating construction alternatives, especially on large projects. This study utilizes recycled plastic packaging films for bitumen modification. The recycled polyolefin blend is a combination of linear low-density polyethylene and low-density polyethylene (LLDPE/LDPE). LLDPE/LDPE was added in bitumen at various dosages (i.e., from 3% to 12% by weight of the bitumen) to assess the effect of recycled LLDPE/LDPE on the binder physio-chemical, rheological and thermal performance. In addition to the various laboratory performance tests, the environmental sustainability of the alternatives was evaluated through an LCA study. Finally, the outcomes from the two approaches (laboratory performance and environmental impact assessment) were combined via grey relational analysis to identify the best overall alternative. It was found that the storage stability of LLDPE/LDPE modified blends varied from 6 °C to 57 °C whereas the storage stability value of A35P was 2 °C. Softening point of bitumen was 44.1 °C which improved to 55.7–104.1 °C at different content of LLDPE/LDPE. The melting temperature of LLDPE/LDPE modified blends was 100.22, 101.44, 101.87 and 102.49 for LLDPE/LDPE-3%, LLDPE/LDPE-6%, LLDPE/LDPE-9% and LLDPE/LDPE-12%. The methodology highlighted in the paper can be easily adapted to other scenarios, hence facilitating multi-attribute decision-making processes when incorporating recycled materials in roads and leading to better informed decisions.
- Grey relational analysis (GRA)
- Life cycle assessment (LCA)
- Multi attribute decision making (MADM)
- Waste plastics