South Africa is set to commence construction of first plastic road in Africa. The Kouga Municipality, together with a Scottish company and SA civil engineering experts will develop the project.

Horatio Hendricks, Mayor of Kouga Municipality revealed the reports and said that the road project aims at solving waste plastic epidemic. SP Excel holdings (PTY) and Scribante Construction would partner with Scottish firm MacRebur for the development.

“We are determined to help solve the waste plastic epidemic and the poor quality of roads we drive on around the world today. MacReburs’ innovative solution comprises of processing waste plastics destined for landfill or incineration and adding them into asphalt for road construction and surfacing to extend and enhance the bitumen (fossil fuel) binder,” said  Mayor Hendricks.

“Non-recyclable plastic waste, which ends up in the ocean or clogging up landfill sites, will be processed into pellets and used to replace a large component of the bitumen in a conventional asphalt mix,” Knoetze explained.

First Plastic road in Africa

The idea of the project was first presented to the provincial legislature by Vicky Knoetze, a member of the Eastern Cape Legislature in 2017. Unfortunately it was declined by the department the same year.

Plastic waste will be processed into pellets and used to replace a large component of the bitumen in a conventional asphalt mix. It is estimated that up to 1,8 million plastic bags can be used in just one kilometre of road.

The road according to yhe mayor will be stronger and more durable, as water, the main cause of potholes, does not penetrate it as easily as with traditional asphalt mixes. It will be also more heat resistant, cheaper to build and easier to maintain.

Construction works costs will be catered by partners so that it doesn’t be a burden to the municipality. Hendricks said that if the trial turns out to be a success, the municipality may build a factory to recycle and produce plastic pellets locally.

“In this case it will be a triple win for our people that is better roads, less pollution and more job opportunities,” said the mayor.