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Mexico unveils first highway paved with recycled plastic

Dow Technology officials hope to scale the recycled plastics to larger projects

Mexican officials recently paved a 2.5 mile stretch of highway using recycled plastic. Image: Dow Plastics Technology Mexico

The first-ever highway partially made of reclaimed plastic was inaugurated in Mexico on Nov. 13.

The 2.5-mile stretch of highway in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico used 1.7 tons of recycled plastic, or the equivalent of 425,000 plastic packaging units, according to Dow Plastics Technology Mexico.

“The advantage of using recycled plastic products is that they can be used on all types of highways, not only in high-performance products, which can extend the life span of any paved road,” Paula Sans, Dow Mexico’s director of packaging and specialty plastics, said in a release.

The newly paved stretch of highway connects the cities of Irapuato and Cuerámaro. The area is home to dozens of foreign and domestic factories, including automakers General Motors and Ford and food giant General Mills.

The plastic asphalt was created by a group of companies including Dow, Vise Construction, Surfax engineering-construction, technology firm Lasfalto and plastics recycler Omnigree. The highway project was supported by Mexico’s Federal Communications and Transportation Secretariat (SCT).

“Demonstrating that highways made from high-performance modified asphalts using recycled plastic material can be accomplished is a step forward to develop applications based on a circular economy business model — to provide a solution to the growing concern regarding the handling of plastic waste,” Sans said.

She said Dow plans to do more tests with the use of modified asphalt to be able to apply the technology on larger-scale projects. Neither Dow or the SCT commented on the cost of the project.

The plastic asphalt project is the first in Mexico, but the concept has been tested on roads in Los Angeles as well as countries such as South Africa, Scotland and the Philippines.


  1. Noble1

    Plastic ?

    Caution EVEN MORE slippery when wet , LOL !

    Apparently we don’t know where to put our trash . At one time it was recycling rubber tires and embedding it into asphalt and applying it in our roads . Now it’s plastic , LOL !

    The Ecology Center has an interesting article on : Adverse Health Effects of Plastics ‘

    I would be curious to know what the effect of the hot sun in summer season on black plastic asphalt causing fumes ,would have , not only on the environment but also on our health when breathing in those fumes due to the chemical additives in plastic .

    Quote :

    “In addition to creating safety problems during production, many chemical additives that give plastic products desirable performance properties also have negative environmental and human health effects.”

    LOL !

    In my humble opinion ……

    1. Paul

      My Mexican friends have not heard of this. My science friends say it will prove to be unfeasable. I can’t find any recent articles on the highway.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]