Waste plastic: a significant concrete ingredient for future sustainable construction

With the urban construction and development growth, Indian economy is diving fast in promoting the development activities around. Research says that there is a great infrastructural deficit. The level of urbanization 35% today is likely to increase more than 45% in the next 15 years.

This rapid increase in construction sector and use of natural resources in building materials has a very high ecological footprint. In making sustainable building and construction industry, there is an urgent need for stakeholders to look on the alternatives to reduce the over dependence on the mineral viz. sand and address the sand shortage problems.

Plastic has been one of the greatest inventions of this century and become one of the important ingredients of human life. However its low biodegradability has put enormous environment and health impacts. The increasing consumerism and development has increased the use of plastics due to its multiple features. The best use of managing waste plastic is to reuse them as a bi product to other industries to reduce the negative impacts. The mounting waste plastic has also become one of the major challenges due to increasing consumerism and uses may be one of the significant ingredient if could be used in the constructions activities. Around 15000 tons of plastic is dumped in the streets everyday due to a lack of suitable recycling facilities. One of the research study conducted by University of Bath and Goa Engineering College titled ‘Performance of structural concrete with recycled plastic waste as a partial replacement for sand’ addresses the concerns for future sustainable construction. Waste plastic may be a viable partial substitute for sand in structural concrete as sand accounts for 30% of concrete mixture.

The utilization of plastic waste may help in reducing almost 10% of sand in concrete. This approach can provide win-win solution in managing plastic waste and could save up to 820 million tons of sand per year as per the calculations. Researchers are looking for the way outs to increasing the proportion of its uses and working on the mechanics of various ingredients to make it a perfect substitute.