Plastic Sidewalks: The city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, has found a new green use for recycled plastic: paving sidewalks.
By mixing plastic from old milk jugs and bottles into asphalt, the green city accomplishes two things.
First, adding plastic to the mix reduces the temperature that city workers must heat the asphalt to spread it on streets. That translates to a 20 percent reduction in fuel required to spread the pavement.
Second — using the plastic binder also reduces the amount of vapors released into when the asphalt is laid.
Right now it costs a bit more to add plastic to their sidewalk asphalt mix, but city engineer Peter Judd estimates the 1 to 3 percent higher cost reduces the release of greenhouse gases by 300 tons per year. That means Vancouver could be a step closer to achieving its stated goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by the year 2020.