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We're on route to Net Zero with new waste plastic roads


We’re underlining our commitment to a greener environment with a pioneering initiative to use recycled plastic waste to construct new roads at one of our substations.

We have started to build new roads at our substation in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, by using plastic waste collected on site. Work got underway this month and will be completed in sections over the next year. The new roads will be used to extend the site as well as for the reconfiguration of the existing layout.

Recycled plastic road

The plastic, which comes from general construction and domestic waste on site, will replace part of the bitumen – the sticky, black liquid that is traditionally used to make asphalt. To the naked eye, the roads will look the same as traditional versions but with far greater benefits for the environment.

It’s estimated that for every 100 square metres of road laid using waste plastic, the equivalent of over 435,000 single-use carrier bags or over 71,000 throwaway bottles are saved.*

Steven McLagan, our Head of Programme Substations, said: “We’re always looking for innovative ways we can be more environmentally friendly in our work at SP Energy Networks.

“This is the first time we’re using waste plastic to create roads at one of our sites and it’s exciting to be at the forefront of something which has so many benefits. We hope to roll it out across our projects and sites in the future.”

Protecting the environment is a priority for us and we’re expecting two tonnes of plastic waste from the substation will be recycled for use in our new roads – more than the weight of an average mid-size car.

As well as offsetting the plastic waste collected on site, the plastic roads will deliver substantial environmental benefits by utilising waste that would otherwise have been burned or sent to landfill.

Experts also suggest that waste-plastic roads can be stronger, longer lasting and more flexible than standard asphalt.

The roads at Wishaw will use technology from Lockerbie-based waste plastic road specialists, MacRebur. The firm aims to help solve the plastic waste issue harming the planet and help to improve the quality of roads.

Sarah Lakin, MacRebur Contract Manager, said: “SP Energy Networks is the first utility company to offset its plastic waste generation by using MacRebur in their road surfacing project.

“We would like other companies to follow their lead and look at the amount of waste plastic being generated through process or construction projects and consider if this can be recycled into their own roads using our technology.

"By using waste plastic which would otherwise have gone to landfill or incineration in their construction projects, SP Energy Networks is part of a conscious move to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the waste stream and to reduce carbon emissions."

Earlier this year, we revealed major plans to support a low carbon Scotland and called for all Scottish businesses, local authorities and public bodies to invest in green technology. We are investing £20 million into green technology as we aim to help achieve ‘net zero’ in line with the Scottish Government’s target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045.

*Stats taken from MacRebur; plastic road specialists based in Lockerbie.

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