A parking lot in Burnside, N.S., was paved on Thursday with asphalt that included two tonnes of material made from plastic shopping bags.
Dan Chassie, the president of Goodwood Plastic Products, said that’s the equivalent of a week’s worth of shopping bags used in Nova Scotia.
He owns the building on Simmonds Drive and wanted to pave the lot, so decided to turn the work into a demonstration of the material.
“We have a testing company here, doing the same tests they would do on the highway,” said Chassie.
The two tonnes of plastic replaced 25 per cent of the bitumen normally used in the paving job. The bitumen helps bind the aggregates together.
Chassie said he thinks adding plastic bags to asphalt could also make roads less susceptible to the freeze-thaw cycle because they’re more flexible than traditional asphalt.
“All you have to do is take a drive from here to Enfield to see the amount of asphalt peeling up from the highway to know that we need to find a better mix,” said Chassie.
He said it cost more than $40,000 to pave the parking lot, so it wasn’t any cheaper or more expensive than a traditional paving job.
Goodwood Plastic Products has also been turning plastic shopping bags into plastic lumber that LakeCity Woodworkers has been using to make outdoor furniture such as benches and picnic tables. It’s also working on using the material for posts and paving stones.
“Plastic is not the problem, people are the problem,” said Chassie. “If we treat plastic as a resource, then more entrepreneurs will come along and build a business from using it.”
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