Vancouver: Where the Streets Are Paved with Recycled Plastic

The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, is hoping to reduce greenhouse gases by 300 tons per year by using a hybrid asphalt made with recycled plastic.

| March/April 2013

Throughout ancient history, one of the best indicators of whether or not a civilization had its act together was the quality and condition of its road system. The Book of Revelation in the Bible takes this notion to its extreme in its description of heaven, where “the street of the city was pure gold.”

Today, contemporary cities would be ridiculed (and bankrupt) if they tried to meet those heavenly expectations. As Kristine Lofgren explains in Inhabit (November 25, 2012), Vancouver, British Columbia is experimenting with a road material that makes a whole lot of sense considering how much there is to deal with: recycled plastic. The city has teamed up with Toronto-based GreenMantra, which produces hybrid asphalt that uses recycled plastic as a binder. The plastic allows the asphalt to flow at a much lower temperature than regular asphalt, requires about 20 percent less fuel to produce than regular asphalt, and also reduces the vapors emitted during the street-paving process.  Altogether, Vancouver city officials are hoping to reduce greenhouse gases by 300 tons per year through the new process alone.

1/29/2018 9:11:58 AM

So over time the cars wear out the road. The very small bits of plastic are washed away by the rain and the oceans get another load of micro plastics. Funny how things like this are called "green".

11/4/2015 5:22:13 AM

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9/9/2015 4:09:06 PM

Use canvas, cloth or a durable plastic bag. Reusable bags are more environmentally friendly than paper or plastic. Under the law, any store required to recycle plastic bags must also sell reusable bags. Keep them in your car for the next time you have to run out for groceries. Say "No thank you." Not all items require a bag so tell the clerk, "No thank you." Carry small purchase items, like a magazine, candy, or a drink, to the car instead of in a plastic bag. From