24 February 2022 | Innovation | Net Zero

Bradford is first Yorkshire and Humber council to specify plastic roads

Bradford Council is the first local authority in the Yorkshire and Humber region to specify road surfacing material that contains recycled plastic.

Scottish company, MacRebur, have been processing waste plastics otherwise destined for landfill or incineration since 2015. The resulting granules or flakes reduce the volume of bitumen (fossil fuel) in the asphalt mix but also enhance the bitumen as an aggregate binder.

The Council’s Highway Maintenance North team have recently awarded a package of road resurfacing schemes within the Keighley and Shipley parliamentary constituencies that will be completed in February and March.

Over 2,000 tonnes of asphalt will be laid containing around 10 tonnes of recycled plastic.

MacRebur’s Director of Operations, Gordon Reid, said “After first approaching us several years ago, I am delighted that supply chain difficulties have now been overcome and Bradford can finally introduce our product into their road resurfacing schemes. For every tonne of asphalt laid, 5kg of waste plastic is saved from landfill or incineration along with an average saving of 7.75kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per tonne.”

The asphalt is also made up of 95% steel slag, a by-product of the steelmaking process, eliminating the need for quarried aggregate. The material is manufactured to very high standards at temperatures over 150C to ensure plastic particles cannot be released into the environment.  The plastic becomes integrated into the asphalt mix and can be recycled again and again.

Lee Birkbeck, Regional Commercial Director at SteelPhalt, said “We have worked closely with MacRebur over the last couple of years and we are now able to offer asphalt products that will help customers to decarbonise and meet their climate change targets. Bradford Council are the first highway authority to specify this particular range of asphalt for local road resurfacing which should deliver notable benefits to its communities and the environment.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We have a duty to reduce waste and tackle climate change which is having a devastating effect on our planet. Using this innovative product from MacRebur is a positive step in terms of decarbonising our operations. We will continue to work with suppliers and contractors to ensure that using materials like this becomes standard practice.”

Image source: City of Bradford MDC.