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

Street scene in Vancouver, British Columbia

A street scene in Vancouver, British Columbia. The city is testing hybrid asphalt made with recycled plastic that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to street paving by 300 tons per year.

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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.

11/4/2015 5:22:13 AM

Your guidance was really very useful and helped us.

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

2/20/2015 4:27:32 AM

Mandatory plastic bag recycling laws usually require grocery stores to accept used plastic bags for recycling. These laws are usually sponsored by plastics industry groups. Watch out! Plastic bag recycling laws also usually include a preemption clause so that no other plastic bag reduction measure can be put in place.

10/17/2014 4:44:03 AM

This is indeed a great effort to have recycled plastics used for making products which can be otherwise used. But how long is it gonna take to make the world economies realize that recycling is the key to reduce dependency on high cost products and to save the natural resources.

7/23/2014 1:30:00 PM

These are some of the best ways to make use of plastic . I liked the concept adopted by Vancouver, British Columbia to reduce the amount of plastic wastes. It was a very good read given over here. Good job.

6/12/2014 12:22:10 PM

It was a pleasing experience to see how well the helped adding curb appeal to my property by adding attractive paver stones to the exterior portions, in designer patterns.

bonnie hannum
4/2/2013 8:44:46 PM

Very true, Tim. Just like our federal budget, individuals must STOP THE SPENDING. As you said, we have filled our homes. Earth. BUT, there IS plenty of room for everyone to live. They just need to leave the cities (or better yet, rebuild them!) to reclaim space. There are so many abandoned places! But, that aside, and back to the topic of paving the streets with recycled plastics; this is a great concept, but I do however have one worry/question for the city/engineers...... what about the gases that plastics produce when they are heated by the sun?

tim nelin
4/1/2013 3:08:06 PM

It's something, but there is so far to go. The problem is not pollution, it's the primary cause of pollution, and that is what we are all aware of but unwilling to face-headon. The simple fact is that our dearly loved and beautiful home has reached the limit and can no longer support a human population of 7 billion and uncontrollably growing, mainly through our intelligent efforts at prolonging life, improving fertility, and curing diseases. We are never going to live on Mars or anywhere else. If we don't start dealing with the real problem, we will simply "smart" ourselves out of the only home we have. If you look hard, you will notice that we have a growing problem of getting along with one another simply from overcrowding. We really don't know how to stop the accelerating problem of filling our home with our own filth. So if we don't know how to fix it, the WE HAD BETTER STOP BREAKING IT-----RIGHT??????