As public concern around plastic waste continues to grow, a new factory opens today (Tuesday, 5th March 2019) which could help turn the tide on ocean pollution.
The site in Lockerbie, Scotland, is home to MacRebur, a company which has developed and patented a way to use plastic waste in roads and carparks. The company launched in 2016 and the new factory is MacRebur’s first. It will be used to granulate rubbish which would otherwise have gone to landfill.
These granules are then mixed with MacRebur’s activator, which makes the plastic bind, and bagged ready to be distributed to asphalt producers. The MacRebur mix allows the bitumen used in the production of asphalt to be extended and enhanced, reducing the amount of fossil fuel used.
In every tonne of MacRebur mix, the equivalent of approximately 76,000 bottles or 200,000 bags are used. And on a 1km stretch of road, the equivalent of approximately 684,000 bottles or 1.8m single-use plastic bags would be used.
MacRebur CEO Toby McCartney said: “The opening of our first ever factory is an important milestone in our mission to tackle two issues – plastic waste and potholed roads. “Our technology means that we can not only help solve the problem of plastic waste but also produce roads that cope better with changes in the weather, reducing cracks and potholes. That’s because our roads are more flexible thanks to the properties of the plastic used in them, so although a MacRebur road looks the same as any other, it has improved strength and durability.
“Our technology also means there are no plastic microbeads present in the mix and we can even recycle the road at the end of its lifespan, creating a circular economy that is sustainable and cost effective.”
MacRebur roads have already been laid around the world everywhere from Australia to Yorkshire using plastic waste processed by waste companies. However, the MacRebur factory, which has created 12 new jobs, will bring this processing in-house and provide a blueprint for other factories which the company is seeking to license in the UK and across the globe. It has already signed agreements for its first two licensed factories in Europe.
Says McCartney: “Our ultimate aim is for local rubbish to be used in local roads and MacRebur factories will help us achieve this by allowing waste plastic to be processed and mixed with our additive for use in asphalt.
“We delighted to have licensed our first two factories already and have received fantastic support from asphalt producers in Scotland, the rest of the UK and abroad who are keen to use our product.
“Some of our roads have been in situ for two years now and the results of our testing have shown that MacRebur works, which means there is a huge opportunity now for everyone who is using asphalt, whether for private or public projects, to do the right thing and use plastic waste for the good of our planet.”
MacRebur technology has been used by household names including Tesco, which surfaced a store carpark in Dumfries with the product. MacRebur is also working with Cumbria County Council on a £1.6m plastic roads project