Pilot project: recycled plastic road surface


Recycling done differently. A Scottish company developed a road surface which includes recycled plastic. This new ‘tarmac’ has been laid in Zermatt as a pilot project in June 2019.

Every year more than 400 million tonnes of waste plastic are being produced worldwide. Adding up to 8.3 billion tonnes between 1950 and 2015. The world is being swamped with plastic – but what to do with all this waste?

The Scottish company MacRebur is tackling the plastic waste problem with a new kind of road surface: incorporating plastic waste into the tarmac. In Zermatt, the first road in Switzerland was paved with this mixture.

Temperature fluctuations

For Zermatt, where temperatures fluctuate from between -20 to +30 degrees, depending on the season, this new tarmac is ideal. Thanks to the inclusion of plastic, it is more flexible and therefore more durable. For the environment, the usage of plastic presents no problem as the particles are coated by a binding agent and therefore don’t contaminate the environment.

Contribution to protecting the environment

Although the share of plastic in the tarmac is 0.3%, if used exclusively, Switzerland could reuse 16,000 tonnes of plastic on the roads. Zermatt is setting an example in the fight against plastic waste, engaging in protecting the environment.