Recycling waste plastics in roads: A life-cycle assessment study using primary data

Joao Miguel Oliveira dos Santos, A. Pham, P. Stasinopoulos, F. Giustozzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The present study investigates – from an environmental perspective – the processes that lead to the conversion of
waste plastics into recycled plastic pellets to be used either as an additive (wet method) or as a replacement of
natural aggregate (dry method) in the production of asphalt mixes. Data from recycling facilities in Victoria,
Australia, were collected and used as the basis for a comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) study. Analyses
were conducted by considering several replacement ratios of virgin material by its recycled counterpart in the
so-called wet and dry method. A case study considering the production of recycled-plastic asphalt to be applied
in the construction of a typical surface layer of a road in Victoria was evaluated. In general, the results show that
recycling plastics as a polymer for bitumen modification and as a synthetic aggregate replacement in asphalt
mixes has the potential to be environmentally advantageous compared to their virgin counterpart (i.e. virgin
polymers and natural quarry aggregates).
Original languageEnglish
Article number141842
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the total environment
Volume751
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2021

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