Closing the Loop of plastic packaging: Global best practice examples for repurposing recycled plastic – Part 2 (Urban and Municipal needs)

As we continue our efforts towards “Closing the Loop”, we would like to highlight further best practice initiatives to repurpose recycled plastic in additional end-market industries. We are, once again, thankful to our partners ETH Zurich for their invaluable research in amassing and documenting these numerous examples from across the globe.

We will now focus on Urban and Municipal needs. Our highlighted projects are once again durable and sustainable in the long term, offering a viable replacement from a financial and environmental standpoint.

An interesting initiative responding to municipal needs is the construction of long-lasting roads. An affordable solution to build them can be through the use of composite pavement blocks. Ugandan entrepreneurs transform plastic waste into unique paving stones: they first heat the plastic to convert it into liquid, and then add sand to it. Once the mixture cools down, they mold it into a pavement block which can then be used for the construction of roads and parking lots.

Pipes and ducts present another successful repurposing initiative for Urban and Municipal needs; their usage is required to allow access to clean water and sewage systems, essential to assure proper sanitary conditions in cities. The Plastic Pipe Institute (PPI) project, funded by the AEPW (Alliance to End Plastic Waste), asserts that “To make one standard 20-foot length of 48-inch diameter HDPE pipe, containing 40 percent recycled HDPE resin, it requires between 1,600 to 2,200 discarded bottles”. Given the fact that drainage pipes are usually much longer than 20 foot, this project offers a sustainable solution to repurpose large amounts of plastic waste.

Rain Collection Barrels are a viable solution to collect water from rain, optimizing lower-cost access to clean water. This presents an opportunity for regions suffering from too much polluted water. A company in the UK, Smiths of Forest of Dean, produces reusable and recyclable plastic drums that are “industrial standard quality” and “heavy duty material”.

Public Toilets assembled from recycled single-use plastic material that is collected from streets present an excellent opportunity which is cheap and easy to construct in less than 2 hours. An Indian entrepreneur has designed this eco-friendly toilet, called PeePee, made out of 9000 plastic bottles and costing a mere 146 Euros to build. Furthermore, the urine is collected and subsequently recycled for agricultural use.

These initiatives focused on Urban and Municipal needs offer a practical solution to cities wanting to improve the living standard of their respective communities in an affordable manner, simultaneously contributing to curb environmental pollution.

Stay tuned to learn more about practice examples of repurposing recycled plastic for the Agricultural industry.

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