The Relationship Between EPDs, BMD, RAP & Plastic
LaCroix said the use of recycled plastics in asphalt seems to be catching on first and foremost in the commercial market. However, as cities, counties and state DOTs see those projects succeed, LaCroix expects the use of recycled plastics to increase.
“Anytime you have something new and different, the process to change specifications to allow that tends to be slower for cities, counties and state DOTs,” he said. However, NVI and other manufacturers are making progress, putting down trial projects, and gathering data. “No one wants to be a guinea pig, but we have test roads dating back five years. They’re no longer the guinea pig.”
As the industry investigates balanced mix design (BMD), as well as environmental product declarations (EPDs), LaCroix said recycled plastics could play a role in those conversations. “The [agencies] don’t want to spend taxpayer money figuring out which ones work and which ones don’t,” LaCroix said. “But with BMD, as long as [the mix] meets certain criteria, they can feel confident moving forward with new ideas.”
“In terms of the EPD conversation, the biggest bang for a contractor’s buck is still using more RAP,” LaCroix said. “But, with BMD, contractors will be able to increase RAP content while also using additives like NewRoad to help prove that higher percentages of RAP can meet the DOT’s performance criteria.”
This article ran as part of a larger article about the use of recycled waste plastics on a recent Florida pilot project with P&S Paving.