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California Highway Repaved with Recycled Bottles

A one-mile segment of pavement will use 150,000 recycled plastic bottles. Credit: Caltrans

A Green Solution For Road And Bridge

Caltrans is repaving three lanes of a 1,000-foot highway segment with a substance made from the recycled plastic bottles. This pilot project in Oroville, CA combines asphalt pavement and liquid plastic made from the single-use, plastic bottles to form the highway surface. Deemed the ‘plastic’ roadway, the material has proven durable and long-lasting in testing; the $3.2 million project is the first real world test. If successful, the material will be used throughout the state.

The innovative technology uses heavy equipment to grind up the top three inches of existing pavement, which is then mixed with the liquid plastic from the recycled bottles and replaced as the top surface of pavement. Not only does this process use recycled plastic bottles, this onsite repaving process eliminates the need to haul asphalt to the worksite, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

As a leader on environmental justice issues, California is uniquely positioned to transform the transportation industry once again by using this new technology that could revolutionize the way we look at recycled plastic.

CA Senator Ben Hueso

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