Plastic Waste as a Component of Light Concrete






Plastic waste is a viable partial replacement for sand in structural concrete, according to a new study by researchers from the UK and India. Their findings could help businesses in India dealing with a sand shortage while at the same time addressing the country’s immense plastic waste problem. 


The study shows that replacing sand with similarly sized and shaped waste plastic particles from ground up plastic bottles produced concrete that was almost as strong as conventional concrete mixtures. 


The researchers calculated that replacing 10% of sand in concrete with the plastic waste could save 820 million metric tons of sand a year. They tested the approach on concrete tubes and cylinders using five types of plastic particles in a variety of sizes. Ground up recycled plastic bottles that were graded to match the sand had the best performance. 


Every day, 15,000 tons of plastic gets dumped in the country’s streets due to a lack of suitable recycling facilities. The cost of sand is also rising, to the point where unregulated extraction from riverbeds is an enormous problem. 


Globally, concrete accounts for about 9% of a new building’s budget even though it is responsible for nearly half the building’s carbon dioxide emissions, the researchers noted. Each year, 4.2 trillion kilograms of cement is manufactured, resulting in about 1.9 cubic meters of concrete for every person on the planet. 


Major companies that produce cement, which is an important ingredient in concrete, have struggled to decarbonize. The companies that come out on top in the research are addressing emissions by having new, highly efficient plants while also using many alternative materials that have lower emissions. 



At the EcoFairy, our goal is to help you build a more sustainable life by offering you a line of reusable products. We offer products that last and that will help you reduce the amount of plastic you use.   


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