SP Energy Networks paves the way for waste plastic roads

The plastic will replace part of the bitumen – the sticky, black liquid that is traditionally used to make asphalt

SP Energy Networks has announced the use of recycled plastic waste to build new roads at one of its substations in the UK.

Work got underway to build the roads at its substation in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, this month, using plastic waste, which comes from general construction and domestic waste onsite.

The plastic will replace part of the bitumen – the sticky, black liquid that is traditionally used to make asphalt.

The electricity distribution network operator estimates that for every 100 square metres of road laid using waste plastic, the equivalent of more than 435,000 single-use carrier bags or more than 71,000 throwaway bottles are saved.

Two tonnes of plastic waste from the substation are to be recycled for use in the new roads – more than the weight of an average-sized car – delivering environmental benefits by utilising waste that would otherwise have been burned or sent to landfill.

According to SP Energy Networks, experts suggest waste plastic roads can be “stronger, longer lasting and more flexible” than standard asphalt.

The roads at Wishaw will use technology from Lockerbie-based waste plastic road specialists, MacRebur.

Steven McLagan, Head of Programme Substations at SP Energy Networks, said: “We’re always looking for innovative ways we can be more environmentally friendly in our work at SP Energy Networks.

“This is the first time we’re using waste plastic to create roads at one of our sites and it’s exciting to be at the forefront of something which has so many benefits. We hope to roll it out across our projects and sites in the future.”

The network operator is investing £20 million into green technologies as it seeks to contribute towards the Scottish Government’s target for net zero emissions by 2045.

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