Fans of literary classics may read the word “Nemo” and remember Jules Verne’s sharp-witted captain and his quest for advancement by discovering the unknown. Above the waves, the Plastics Industry Association’s New End Market Opportunities (NEMO) project is pursuing its own quest and making discoveries to advance the sustainability of plastics. The best part of this story? It isn’t science fiction.
The NEMO model focuses on improving and expanding uses for recycled post-use plastic. Working with the Plastics Industry Association, Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) is currently participating in a NEMO study analyzing the performance of post-use plastic in asphalt. CPChem recently used a specialized asphalt mix containing approximately 1,000 kilograms of recycled plastic to pave a 67,000-square-foot parking lot at its Port Arthur, Texas, facility. CPChem’s newly paved lot is estimated to contain the equivalent of more than 191,000 plastic bags, redirecting these valuable materials from ending up in a landfill or unintended places in the environment.
Provided by GreenMantra Technologies, a polyethylene wax additive made from recycled plastic films is incorporated into liquid asphalt and mixed with aggregates like sand and rock. Expected to match or exceed the specifications of traditional asphalt mixes, the innovative asphalt composition used to pave CPChem’s new lot will now undergo periodic inspections to measure its real-world performance. Along with CPChem, three additional companies have volunteered spaces for this study aimed at reducing plastic waste through its use in improving the performance, environmental impact, and lifespan of asphalt applications.
CPChem believes all recycling methods have a role to play in reducing plastic waste. The company proudly supports this Plastics Industry Association project that aligns with CPChem’s work to advance a circular economy for plastics.