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Resurfacing County Durham’s roads and reducing plastic pollution

Jan 18, 2023 | Local News

The North East’s largest local authority is doing its bit to reduce plastic pollution whilst making County Durham’s roads smoother and safer, for longer.

In the course of last year’s resurfacing programme, Durham County Council covered more than 126,000 square metres of road with a sustainable asphalt solution.

The solution, which is mixed with recycled single-use plastic waste and rubber from vehicle tyres, reduces the volume of newly mined aggregates, with locally sourced tyres used.

Cllr John Shuttleworth, Cabinet member for highways, rural communities and community safety, said: “This is a fantastic initiative. As well as having a positive environmental impact by stopping material from going to a landfill site, the combined properties from the rubber and plastic enhance the performance of the road.

“It creates a more water-resistant surface, reducing the risk of future potholes. It also makes the surface less likely to crack, more resistant to wear and tear and less likely to distort in hot weather than traditional asphalt mixes. These factors will help our road surfaces to last longer. The materials can also be reprocessed and used again when the road surface does need replacing, helping to further reduce our environmental impact.”

Over the last year, 28,569 tonnes of recycled material have been used on roads across the county – the equivalent of more than two million two-litre plastic milk cartons.

The council was one of the first local authorities to trial the Plastipave solution, which was developed by Rainton Construction to provide an environmentally friendly approach to highway maintenance.

Every 20 tonnes of Plastipave produced incorporates the equivalent of over 1,000 single use carrier bags and the residue from over 50 car tyres, with the potential to reduce carbon emissions by over 270kg.