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Solution To Solve The Plastic Waste Problems Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1238 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The purpose of this project is to provide a feasible solution to solve the plastic waste problems and help residents in the Mekong Delta areas to improve the transport infrastructure. Specifically, this project is aimed to use plastic waste as an alternative construction material for building roads in the Mekong Delta areas. The modified-plastic road is designed to meet specific needs that were set to make sure the road would be suitable for the local environment and have an economic performance.

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In this project, Group F chose plastic waste as the target. It is because plastic waste such as plastic bags and plastic bottles is non-biodegradable in the natural environment. As a principal pollution, plastic waste is harmful to the environment. Abuse of plastic and lack of recovery has resulted in many environmental problems. Besides, recycling plastic waste is not popular in Vietnam which is a huge squander. Based on this information, Group F decided to find a viable way for recycling plastic waste.

The use of plastic waste in road construction is an environment-friendly technology. “In recent years, applications of plastic wastes have been considered in road construction with great interest in many developing countries.”[1] This kind of technology has become increasingly popular around the world. In numerous countries, especially in developing countries, the transport and logistics systems are under high strain from increases in population and trade. So does in Vietnam. Thus, improving the infrastructure in the Mekong Delta areas is also very important. Hence using modified plastic waste to build roads is an effective method to solve these problems. Using plastic waste in road construction can be a good solution. According to several field tests, “the plastic wastes used after proper processing as an additive would enhance the life of the roads and also solve environmental problems.” [2] It follows that using plastic waste in road construction is a workable solution to balance the environment and development.

Implementing this project can both increase the recovery rate of plastic wastes and improve the living standard in Vietnam, especially in the Mekong Delta. The objectives of the project were to help the local people reduce the plastic waste, solve the traffic problems, and increase the sustainable development.

This paper provides background information and describes the methods and tools used to build a road from plastic wastes. As well, the paper provides the processing schemes for the plastic wastes and shows a road model made from plastic waste. The feasibility and economic efficiency of the design is also discussed in this paper. The recommendations and future work are provided in the final parts.


In this section of the report, background information concerning the project will be provided.

Vietnam and Mekong Delta

Socialist Republic of Vietnam which is called Vietnam for short is a Southeast Asian country and locates on the Indochina peninsula. “Vietnam covers a total area of 331,210”.[3] And has a population of 87,840,000 in the year of 2011. [4] In recent years, Vietnam’s economy has made a lot improvement. After the economic reforms, this country has become one of the world’s fastest growing economies. According to an economic statistic, “Vietnam’s annual GDP growth rate is 8% between 1990 to 1997 and around 7% from 2000 to 2005.” [5] In spite of sharp speed development, Vietnam is facing several problems such as pollution, housing shortage, outdated infrastructure and so on. Mekong Delta is one of the examples. According to the AusAid report, the “Mekong Delta is famous as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam it contributes up to 90% of the nation’s rice exports.” [6] In recent years, the economy has been improved significantly; however, there are still lots of problems to solve. As mentioned before, Mekong Delta is also facing the same challenges as the whole country. Now, pollution is a serious problem. Waste such as chemicals, human wastes, wastewater and plastic wastes has harmed the local environment and people’s health. Additionally, with the growth of population and economy, outdated infrastructure cannot satisfy people’s need. The traffic system in the Mekong Delta is under extreme stress. It is necessary for the native residences find a way to solve these two problems. As one unit of the international aid projects, the AusAID also realized this issue. There is a transportation improvement project to help the Mekong Delta to improve the transport infrastructure. This project has an estimated total cost of US$ 306 million with plans to upgrade 325km of roads through this project. [7]

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Technology used in the project

Nowadays, plastic products are almost everywhere. As a cheap and effective material, plastic is widely used both for agriculture and industry. Using plastic products increased people’s living standards. However, this convenient material is not environment friendly. The most significant reason is most of the plastics are non-biodegradable. They can last for a long time in the geological environment. In addition, the traditional treatment for plastic waste such as landfill and incineration is a threaten for people’s health and the environment. How to deal with plastic waste is a challenge for sustainable development. Recycling is a good way of solving the problem. Scientists and engineers have developed a new approach to change the waste into roads.

Using plastic in road construction is not new. For a long time, people use PVC or HDPE to manufacture pipes in road construction. However, using plastic waste as raw material for road construction is a different technique but studies have shown this technique has great potential and can bring many benefits. An initial study that conducted in 1997 to test for strength and durability of roads from plastic wastes proved that “the durability of roads laid with plastic waste mix is found to be better than the conventional ones.” [2] The overall process of building plastic waste roads includes two parts, explicitly the first part is “preparation which includes segregation, cleaning, shredding, and collection. The second part is field trial”. [8]

At first, the plastic waste such as bags and bottles are separated and cleaned. Then, the plastic wastes are shredded into small pieces or powder form. After collecting, the on-size plastic waste powder will be added into the hot aggregate which is kept at 170°C. After the shredded plastic waste are “softened and coated over the aggregate,”[8] the hot bitumen is added and should be well mixed. Then, this hot mixture is ready for being laid on the road. The laying process is similar to the way tar roads are laid.

This technology has many advantages. The use of plastic waste for road construction can not only reduce the need for bitumen and increase the strength and performance of the roads, but also protect the environment as well as create additional employment opportunities. Besides, using plastic waste for road construction can reduce the need of bitumen and also reduce the cost of laying the roads.

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