Recycled plastic waste paves way for major new project
12 July 2021
A revolutionary new tarmac product made from discarded plastic has been used as part of a major regeneration project in Scotland’s biggest city.
The tarmac uses plastic waste that cannot be recycled and would otherwise be destined for landfill or incineration.
FES Group used the innovative ‘recycled’ tarmac to build an access road to a new energy centre being created by Scottish Water Horizons – the business arm of Scottish Water.
The state-of-the-art energy centre, based at Scottish Water’s Waste Water Treatment Works at Dalmarnock, is part of a larger district heat network project which will deliver low carbon energy to the new Clyde Gateway Regeneration and Innovation District in the east end of Glasgow.
Just over 414 kg of plastic waste – the equivalent of 105,000 plastic bags – was used to create the temporary road at the Dalmarnock site, offsetting over 730kg of carbon emissions.
The plastic tarmac was manufactured and supplied by Lockerbie-based firm MacRebur. The plastic is added to asphalt – the sticky black liquid used to build roads. They do this by combining specially selected polymers with an activator it has developed to create the tarmac which not only reduces plastic pollution but has been proven to significantly improve road durability.
Thanks to the type of plastics selected for use, their melting point allows them to chemically bond with asphalt, resulting in an inseparable mixture which has been independently tested and proven not to leach microplastics into the environment.
The unique formula also maximises the use of bitumen – naturally occurring deposits of petroleum – helping to reduce the need for fossil fuels in the final product.
Due for commissioning later this summer, the Clyde Gateway Heat Network Project will use a combination of technologies to generate efficient, sustainable heat and distribute it to Scotland’s largest regeneration project to date.
The scheme will use a metered system to ensure end users only pay for the energy they use and has been deigned to be more efficient than conventional heating, helping to reduce energy bills.
Once up and running the initial phase of the project will supply sustainable heat to several homes and businesses, with potential to expand as the demand grows.
The new ‘plastic’ road at Dalmarnock is just one of the ways FES and Scottish Water Horizons are using innovation to enable sustainable construction and support Scotland’s ambitious Net Zero Emissions targets.
Charles Easton, Support Services Director at FES, said: “The FES Group are consistently striving to deliver innovations that challenge traditional construction methods whilst meeting functional requirements.
“The plastic road solution is a great example of FES and Scottish Water Horizons collectively pushing the boundaries of sustainable design and construction during another successful green energy project”
Finn Hall, Civil Engineer at MacRebur said: “The shared values of sustainability between parties meant this project was an outstanding success, and the commitment to achieving net zero through this project is admirable.
“We were more than happy to be a part of the ongoing push for environmentalism and hope to be involved in more projects like this in future.”
“The plastic road at our Dalmarnock project has been a great success and showcases the incredible innovation which is happening to help protect our planet.Donald MacBrayne, Business Development Manager, Scottish Water Horizons
Donald MacBrayne, Business Development Manager at Scottish Water Horizons, added, “We’ve partnered with FES on a number of projects so they understand how important it is to us to support sustainable infrastructure and do everything we can to help protect the environment.
“We’re committed to supporting Scotland’s Net Zero Carbon ambitions, and our Clyde Gateway district heat network is just one of the ways we’re helping to do this.”