About 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions are caused by the construction sector. At a time of climate crisis, it is very important for the sector to up their game by adapting innovational methods.
The construction sector can contribute in a meaningful way by innovating the building materials. Recycled plastic has made its way in this list, after the demonstration of its successful use in various building projects including road construction projects in India. Benefits of using this material in commercial construction are multifold.
Usability of plastic as a building material
Recycled plastic is an innovative solution to construction, which requires less energy to create and release fewer fossil fuels into the environment. When it reaches the end of its life, builders can recycle it again, reducing the need to manufacture new plastic.
It is very important for builders to consider the type of plastic needed for construction. All types function differently in various environments. Most of them react to changes in temperature, becoming brittle or soft, and construction workers must know which to use for the appropriate structure.
For example, one might avoid using plastic lumber on decks, as they reach high temperatures in the summer. Likewise, freezing climates can cause synthetic structures to become fragile.
Negative impacts of manufacturing plastic
Reusing existing plastic would reduce the production of virgin plastic, which people often use once and discard. It has been well established by scientists that it takes forever for plastics to degrade.
Virtually all plastic comes from fossil fuels, as 90 per cent of ethylene — a chemical used in creating plastic — is sourced from natural gas. Fossil, in addition to causing harmful emissions, might also be harvesting these oils, heating the Earth from within, creating higher temperatures in places of extraction.
Utility of Plastic
Recycled plastic can be used for roofing, flooring, and insulation. Insulation containing plastic is more energy-efficient than the traditional kind, and it’s easy to install. Plastic roofing and flooring are also simple to implement within current building techniques.
The alternatives keep growing in number. In 2017, MIT students researched the possibility of reinforcing concrete with recycled plastics. They found that irradiated plastic creates concrete that’s denser and stronger than its traditional counterpart. While this possibility is still under development, the ability to substitute even 1.5 per cent of concrete with irradiated plastic can have sweeping environmental effects on a global scale.
Plastic litter is not only unsustainable, but it also contributes to dirty water and breeds illnesses. By converting this material to a better purpose, construction companies keep locals safe and healthy while improving their quality of life.