Using plastic to build the driveways of the future

Written by: Tom Stringer and Johnny Pearce | Published:
Each square metre of Recycle Bound consists of the equivalent of 3,000 plastic straws

Back in 2018, the government introduced a law for all large shops in England to charge 5p for single-use plastic carrier bags.

The sales of these carrier bags have since fallen by 86% as a result. This new law has made many individuals stop and think about single-use plastic and the impact that this has on the environment. People are now taking their own bags while shopping or deciding against a carrier bag and carrying the items instead.

Because of the success of this law, campaigners are now calling for charges on plastic bottles and disposable coffee cups in the hope of producing a similar effect.

Many restaurants have also now banned plastic straws and are opting for paper straws instead.

While the new law may have significantly reduced the number of carrier bags purchased, there is still billions that are sold every year. This means that even if a ban is introduced for other single-use plastic items such as bottles and straws, there will still be a huge amount of the plastic already in circulation.

So, what do we do with the plastic bottles and straws already in circulation?

One solution is to turn it into your driveway. While this may conjure up images of a surface made from a mishmash of bottle lids, straws and food packaging, thanks to Oltco it is quite the opposite.

Based in Newquay, Cornwall, we were inspired to create Recycle Bound driveways after seeing the effect that plastic has on the UK’s beaches and wildlife. As a community, Newquay has come together to become a plastic-free zone and help the environment, and Oltco is committed to supporting this on both a local and national scale.

In the UK we throw away 8.5 billion straws every year. Many of these straws end up polluting our oceans, causing devastating consequences for wildlife across the globe.

Made from waste plastic (straws, plastic drink bottles and plastic food packaging) from a plastic recycling point, each square metre of Recycle Bound consists of the equivalent of 3,000 plastic straws. If Recycle Bound were laid on a standard 50 squaremetre drive, the equivalent of 150,000 plastic straws would be recycled in the process.

The process

Plastic is collected from a waste plastic point where waste plastic bottles and food packaging is collected and sent to a recycling plant. This plastic is then recycled into new food packaging and the wasted element is sent on to Oltco, ready to be blended into Recycle Bound.

Drink bottles and food packaging are used due to their high melting point and the fact that they are practically insoluble. These properties are integral as Recycle Bound offers all of the same benefits as Oltco’s other products, including its permeable status, which therefore makes it SUDS (sustainable urban drainage system) compliant.

In addition to this, the melting point of the solution is 250°C,meaning that even if the UK has another heatwave, the plastic will not melt in the way that some alternatives would, such as Tarmac.

When the waste plastic is thoroughly washed and dried, it is combined with larger, smaller and fine aggregates which are mixed with a UV stable polyurethane resin. This blend is what has made Recycle Bound Oltco’s strongest blend to date and has given the product a tensile strength that is higher than other resin-bound solutions, meaning that it can hold more weight.

If the driveway needs to be replaced in the future, the Recycle Bound solution can be taken up, then crushed and graded so that it can be relaid as a base layer for a new driveway. Alternatively, a new driveway can be laid directly on top of it. This has been developed to ensure that even 20 years down the line, the plastic used will still not be wasted.

Aesthetically, Recycle Bound looks no different from Oltco’s alternative resin blends and costs the same. It has all of the same properties of the other solutions and also helps to reduce waste plastic in circulation.

Oltco has also just launched a franchise scheme which aims to amplify the business’ circular solution across the country. The company’s first franchise in Blackpool has already proven successful with a high number of projects completed in the surrounding area.

Blackpool will also be offering the Recycle Bound solution, and as Oltco continues to expand across the UK with franchises, these franchises will also offer this product. Oltco’s aim is to work with local councils to arrange local collections and shredding in order to minimise travel pollution and inefficiency.

Tom Stringer and Johnny Pearce are founders of Oltco

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