Researchers Identify How to Recycle Face Masks for Roads & Bridges

Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology are responding to the alarming rate of recyclable waste being produced by the pandemic.  With billions of people globally wearing masks, the waste produced by masks has become staggering and raised alarm.

Seeking to more productively utilize this masks waste, the researchers partnered with Melbourne Technical College in a new paper published in the journal Science of the Total Environment describing how discarded face masks can be transformed into road-paving mixtures that lower the cost of constructing roads and bridges.

The paper outlines how just one kilometer of road would require three million masks.  Additionally, they found the polypropylene plastic used to make single-use surgical face masks increased the flexibility and durability of the roads.

The new composite material is approximately 2% shredded masks, with recycled concrete aggregate (RCA)—a material derived from waste concrete and other minerals.

This ultra-recycled composite mixture is two of the four layers required to create roadways in most countries. By adopting this approach, 1 kilometer of paved road would remove 93 tons of waste from landfills.

Source: Good News Network