Mexico Paves the First-Ever Road Partially Made of Recycled Plastics

Lead Photo: Air side view of a countryside highway in Mexico. Photo by Getty Images
Air side view of a countryside highway in Mexico. Photo by Getty Images
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In Mexico, people are literally paving the way for a better, more sustainable future. This month, the country’s Guanajuato highway, a four-kilometer stretch that connects the Irapuato and Cuerámaro municipalities, became the first in the world to be made with recycled plastic.

According to Forbes México, the project used 1.7 tons of plastic, which equates to 425,000 plastic packaging units. Aside from offering a solution for the use of recycled plastics, it also reportedly helps elongate the life span of highways by up to 50%.

“Demonstrating that we can obtain highways from modified asphalt that utilized recycled plastic is a step forward toward … a solution ahead of the growing concern of the management for recycled plastic,” Paula Sans, director of Dow Empaques y Plásticos de Especialidad en México, said.

For the last couple of years, plastic producers such as Dow Chemical, KWS and MacRebur have been working to bring the concept of plastic-derived asphalt roads around the world. The highway stretch in Mexico is just the beginning. According to Dow, the team plans on continuing to run similar test trials elsewhere in the future.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a town in Guatemala showed what a world without plastic could look like. In three years, San Pedro La Laguna was able to decrease water pollution by 90% due to its plastic detox.