Willmott Dixon recycles single-use plastic into roads

Ashton Rise development,

Residents at Bristol City Council’s Ashton Rise development are set to drive on some of the UK’s greenest roads when they move in next year

Willmott Dixon is using an innovative method on the Ashton Rise development that incorporates non-recyclable plastic originating from the scheme into the asphalt used on Ashton Rise’s new roads. By replacing part of the traditional carbon-intensive bitumen usually found in asphalt with waste that would otherwise have gone to incineration or landfill, the innovation will stop the equivalent of 150,000 single-use plastic bags from being incinerated or going into landfill.

It will also save 1.6 tonnes of carbon entering the atmosphere and because it contains plastic, the asphalt will be more flexible, meaning it can cope better with movement caused by changes in the weather, reducing cracks and potholes.

To deliver this part of the scheme, waste management company ETM collects any non-recyclable plastic from the Ashton Rise development before plastic road company MacRebur processes it so that the resulting asphalt can be laid back at the development by Gworks Surfacing. Also, as the plastic melts into the mix, there are no microplastics present.

Neal Stephens, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the South West, said: “This innovation is also complemented by low-carbon heating which is also being installed at the site, making Ashton Rise a highly sustainable development with individual homes making lifetime carbon savings of 23.5kg.

“By showcasing these innovative solutions to support carbon waste reduction, we hope to inspire other developers.”

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees, commented: “This innovative approach will set Ashton Rise as the benchmark for new, environmentally friendly residential developments as residents will drive on some of the greenest tarmac in the country. It’s the introduction of innovations like this that will help drive us forward towards achieving our environmental goals as set out in the One City Plan.”

Toby McCartney from MacRebur, added: ‘‘Sustainability is a key part of the Ashton Rise development so it’s fantastic to see our technology being used here to repurpose plastic which would otherwise have gone to incineration or landfill for the roads and footpaths across the site.’’


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