South Tyneside ‘plastic roads’ plan sparks debate

Plans to test environmentally friendly ‘plastic roads’ South Tyneside have sparked a debate among gazette readers.
Waste plastic could be used in road surfaces in South TynesideWaste plastic could be used in road surfaces in South Tyneside
Waste plastic could be used in road surfaces in South Tyneside

Selected local authorities have been trying a groundbreaking new type of road surface made from plastic waste and South Tyneside Council’s highways and infrastructure manager, Dave Carr, confirmed the technology could be tried in the borough.

Durham County Council was the first local authority in the North East to try out plastic material in highway works.

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It includes non-recyclable waste plastic which is ground down and mixed into asphalt.

The experimental process has been welcomed by some councils who have made pledges around eliminating ‘single use plastics’.

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman added: “We’re considering trialling the use of a product which uses recycled plastic pellets as part of the surfacing materials, which has obvious environmental benefits.

The idea has its supporters but also those who see problems.

Here’s some of the comments left on out Facebook page

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Mark Flett fears the idea may not be a long term solution to single use plastics.

He said: “Great. But eventually, weather conditions and traffic will break down the particles which then are washed in to the drainage systems and eventually out to sea.”

Chris Grievson Agreed saying: “We can’t recycle plastic. Nobody wants the plastic and we can’t dump it any more so now we put it into the roads and paths.

“What happens to the plastic when there’s a pothole? It will end up down the drains into to ocean.”

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Sharon Tremlett wrote; “It works. Its been tested in other countries. It doesn’t melt in the heat like tarmac does or crack and let water in and it gets rid of unwanted plastic.”

Andy Desborough added: “Newcastle Council used it on Gosforth High Street. Didn’t notice a difference in terms of driving on it so go for it.”

Chaz Malone wrote: “It stands up to the weather and the elements much better than tarmac.”

Jean Nicholls added: “I saw a documentry on this being done in another country. It actually worked and saved a load of money to.”

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Matthew Dunn agrees with the plan “as long as it doesn’t break down into micro plastics then spread.”

Alex Jackson added: “Isn’t the world trying to do away with plastic because of ocean pollution. Just a thought. I don’t like the idea.

and Chris Brown concluded “Got to be good if it cuts down plastic waste.”