Plastic Waste used in Road construction by Reliance Industries

Reliance Industries Ltd has initiated a pilot project of road network made up of 50 tonnes of plastic waste in the Nagothane township.

Plastic Waste used in Road construction by Reliance Industries

Reliance Industries Ltd has constructed a road using plastic waste under its sustainability initiative. Plastics used by RIL in the construction include end-of-life post-consumer plastics such as snacks, flimsy polyethylene plastic bags, flexible polyethylene packaging materials used by e-commerce companies, garbage bags, cling wraps and other flexible plastic products collected from within the township and surrounding areas of Pen taluka.

Reliance Industries Limited, Chief operating officer, Vipul shah said that it is a part of Reliance Industries' efforts to instill sustainability and bring recyclable concepts in everything they do. Even the end of life, plastic can be utilized in a sustainable manner in creating meaningful and useful assets.

Mr. Shah stated that the first phase of their sustainability and circularity initiative project is complete, while commercial launch of the Plastic waste road initiative is under process. He also suggested that Reliance would be happy to share the experience with the local bodies and government to help increase the use of end of life plastics for a productive purpose in the country. The use of waste plastic has also enhanced the quality of the road and is beneficial to the environment.

The Nagothane manufacturing division is a portion of its petrochemical complex commissioned in 1989, with many production units making polyethylene and polypropylene, among additional things. The unit registers the movement of some hundred tankers driving in and out each day. The neighboring residential area is home to several staff and their families.

Model road construction began in May 2019 and completed in just two months. Heavy rain was witnessed last season in Raigad area with Nagothane receiving a record of 2,500mm of rainfall. For many days the newly built roads were submerged in water, but there has not been any erosion in the road. There is not a single pothole even though fully-loaded trucks pass through it. The use of plastic in the road mix has enhanced its strength and durability and has provided lower seepage of water, lesser erosion and all this resulting in lower tires abrasion. The cost of plastic made road is also low as compared to conventional bitumen made by 1 lakh for 3.5 m wide, 5 cm topping road.

RIL innovation team has modified hot-mix plants to enhance the efficiency of this process of mixing bitumen and gravel with waste plastics for road construction. Reliance R&D team is working to improve the existing processes and products for better quality. Collection of these plastics is the primary concern as these plastics done pay much money to the waste pickers. A robust plastic collection system will help this waste plastic is recycled and appropriately utilized.