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RIL approaches NHAI for offering waste plastic-to-road technology

RIL approaches NHAI for offering waste plastic-to-road technology
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Nagothane (Raigad): Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance industries has approached National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for offering its 'waste plastic-to-road' technology that uses end-of-life plastic for road construction.

The company has already piloted a few projects and has constructed nearly a 40 kilometre-road by mixing 50 tonnes of end-of-life plastic waste with bitumen at its Nagothane manufacturing site in Raigad district.

"It took us some 14-18 months to develop this mechanism where we can use the end-of-life waste plastic like packaging of snacks and flimsy polyethylene bags, among others, in road construction.

"We are in talks with NHAI to share our experience and to help the use of end-of-life plastic for road construction," the company's COO Petrochemicals Business Vipul Shah told reporters.

Apart from NHAI, RIL is also in talks with state governments and local bodies across the country for offering the technology, he said.

End-of-life plastic cannot be recycled.

Explaining the benefits of the usage of end-of-life waste plastic, Shah said, "it not only ensures sustainable utilisation of plastic but is also financially viable".

"Our experience showed that 1 km of road uses 1 metric tonne (mt) of waste plastic and can save nearly Rs 1 lakh as it can be utilised as a substitute for bitumen to the extent of 8-10 per cent. So, roughly we saved Rs 40 lakh. Besides, this plastic also enhances the quality of roads," he said.

Shah also said the roads made using end-of-life waste plastic were completed in two months and sustained the torrential rains of last year without any erosion.

"NHAI is expected to construct 10,000 kms of roads with average four lanes in FY2021, which is around 40,000 kms of roads that can use nearly 40,000 mt of waste plastics. Besides, other state authorities and local bodies are expected to construct 23,000 kms of around four-lane roads.

"This is a good 86,000 mt of waste plastic," RIL Head of business development (sustainable solutions) K R S Narayan said.

However, he said the biggest challenge in this process is collection and segregation of the waste plastic, "a process know-how that we can offer".

"We have still not decided about the commercial model for this. Going forward, we may consider developing products that could be used directly in road construction. But this will happen once we see the market for this business," Shah said.

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