Springfield Properties has taken a major step towards making its developments more sustainable by using waste plastic to build a road at its site in Elgin.
The initiative has seen Springfield introduce a more environmentally friendly asphalt product on a section of road at the company’s Linkwood Steadings development in Elgin.
The new road surfacing material contains waste plastic and reduces the amount of bitumen needed in the asphalt mix. For every tonne of bitumen replaced, the road surfacing carbon footprint is reduced by a tonne of carbon dioxide. The new surface looks like a traditional road, however, thanks to the flexible properties of plastic, it benefits from increased durability and longevity.
Springfield believes that it is the first housebuilder in the UK to use recycled materials for its roads.
For the project Springfield teamed up with MacRebur, who have developed and patented a way to use waste plastic in roads, alongside asphalt producer Pat Munro. MacRebur uses plastic waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill or incineration. It turns this into granules which are then mixed with a special activator, reducing the amount of fossil fuel required in asphalt production.
Springfield Properties’ North Managing Director, Dave Main, said: “Last year, Zero Waste Scotland reported that non-recycled plastic was costing Scotland £11 million a year. They also stated that 20 million plastic bottles were littered around Scotland and that 120,000 tonnes of plastic waste was produced by Scottish households alone.
“The road in Elgin accounts for 20 tonnes of recycled plastic, the equivalent to 17,042 plastic bags or 6,000 plastic bottles, which would otherwise have been consigned to landfill or incineration.”
Sarah Lakin, Contracts Manager for MacRebur, said: “At MacRebur, we have worked with household names in the commercial sector, the Department for Transport, Highways England and councils to use our product in everything from roads to carparks and racetracks to runways.”
“We are very proud to add Springfield to our growing list of clients and welcome them onboard as the first housebuilder in the UK to use waste plastic in their roads and we look forward to working with them again. We also hope this pioneering project will inspire other developers in Scotland to follow Springfield’s lead as our product is available across the country as well as the UK and abroad.”
Springfield Properties, Chief Executive, Innes Smith, added: “Exploring ways to protect the environment has been a Springfield focus for some time now and over the years we’ve implemented a number of green policies. Last year, we stopped using plastic cups in our offices and installed electric car charging points for our staff. This led to the installation of cabling for electric car charging points in all our private homes.
“Encouraging our staff is an important part of the Springfield ethos. This includes taking the time to explore new ideas our employees may have. These ideas can come from anywhere – ideas about roads don’t just have to come from the civil engineering team – this one came from marketing.”