A team of researchers has developed and patented a unique method of replacing up to 70 per cent sand in concrete with shredded plastic, cracking two of the biggest environmental issues being faced by the world.
The novel technology will not help save the second-most used natural resource — sand — but also help cut down the landfills from growing taller with waste plastic bottles, the team from Sona College of Technology, Salem, Tamil Nadu, said in a statement.
“Our invention successfully utilises recycled plastic waste as partial replacement for fine aggregate or natural sand in making paver blocks and precast bricks,” said Dr R Malathy, dean (R&D) and professor, department of civil engineering and lead inventor of the technology that has just been awarded a patent by India’s Patent Office.
India consumes nearly 70 million tonnes of sand annually to meet its infrastructure demands and this usage is growing at 7 per cent per annum.
At the same time, over 5 million tonnes of plastic are consumed each year, with only about a quarter being recycled and the rest ending up in landfills.
The invention converting plastic waste into useable construction material can be used to partially replace the traditional concrete ingredient.
“The breakthrough invention will hopefully check depletion of global sand stock as well as limit plastic waste,” said Chocko Valliappa, Vice Chairman, Sona Group of Education Institutions.
The team of inventors — Dr R Malathy, Dr SRR Senthil Kumar, N Karuppasamy and K Dhinesh Babu — worked on the invention that earned them the patent “Effect of recycled plastic wastes as partial replacement for fine aggregate in manufacturing paver blocks” in 2019.
The final patent has now been awarded to the team.