A council is planning to fight back against plastic waste by recycling plastic bottles into local roads.
Enfield Council, which is controlled by Labour, have already resurfaced one road with a mixture of plastic and asphalt, and are planning on paving the way by using the mix on all of their streets.
The substance is tougher than normal and more durable than the standard, so in theory it should also reduce the number of annoying potholes.
Transport for London have given the council the funding to go on with their plans, which is aiming to fight the environmental impact of plastic waste.
Monitoring of the road has shown that the asphalt/plastic mix is performing well and is proving to be a long-term, durable solution for road resurfacing.
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Daniel Anderson, said:
We all know that plastics can have a devastating impact on the environment, particularly when the product reaches our seas and oceans.
We all have a responsibility to step up our efforts to help the environment by recycling more, up-cycling and responsibly sourcing materials.
Enfield Council is delighted with this road trial and hope we can use more of the product across the borough to help divert plastics from landfill and reduce the carbon footprint for road construction.
It is currently estimated by Ocean Watch that there are 140 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s seas and oceans.
Over the past 50 years the production and disposal of plastics has rapidly multiplied, with less than a third of Europe’s plastic waste being recycled and the rest ending up in landfill in 2014.
There is a concerted effort away from using plastic, however, including a potential change in the law against plastic straws.
This action is in response to environmental concerns, with The Marine Conservation Society estimating the UK gets through an enormous 8.5 billion straws each year.
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Plastic straws are among the top ten offending waste items found during beach clean-ups; having extremely harmful effects for wildlife who accidentally ingest them.
Plastic straws reportedly take more than two centuries to disintegrate, according to campaign group Refuse The Straw.
Secretary of State for Environment, Michael Gove, spoke with The Telegraph about the environmental impact of plastic straws, brought into focus following the nationwide 5p plastic bag charge.
If you don’t need it, don’t use it – it's great to hear the Government is considering a ban on single-use plastic straws in bars, pubs & restaurants in the UK ? #PromiseForThePlanet pic.twitter.com/rypv4NXS9a
— WWF UK (@wwf_uk) February 23, 2018
When asked whether he would consider banning straws after the UK leaves the European Union, Gove stated ‘Watch this space.’
Gove continued to discuss his opinion on how banning straws could prove easier after Brexit:
If it is bad, then banning it is a good thing. But we have to take a balanced approach towards the EU.
There are some good things about the EU but one of the things about being inside the EU is that there are some steps that we might to take environmentally but can’t yet.
Disappointing to see that @IKEAUK are still selling #plasticstraws in bulk, when there is so much evidence of how damaging they are, particularly to marine environments. This doesn’t stack up v well with their “env credentials” and will only drive demand! #plasticfree ? pic.twitter.com/mULJw2wZzj
— Amy Ritchie (@aammyyr) February 18, 2018
In January 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May spoke of her desire to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste in the UK within a period of 25-years, announcing government funding for innovation in plastics.
May described plastic waste as being ‘one of the great environmental scourges of our time,’ noting, ‘In the UK alone, the amount of single-use plastic wasted every year would fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls.’
Hopefully, with the new changes in plastic use, the problem won’t persist for too much longer.