As our use of plastic increases, so does its presence in landfills and oceans. According to the United Nations Environmental Program, up to 43 percent of plastic ends up in a landfill rather than recycled.
However, an initiative in India has helped turn over 1,600 tons of plastic waste, especially the one-time use products like shopping bags, into 620 miles of usable road in Tamil Nadu, One Green Planet reported. The process, which was funded by the government, took around five years.
The addition is just the latest in the country's innovative green road plan to overhaul most streets. India has over 21,000 miles of plastic roads, which are usually located in the south, The Guardian reported.
The first plastic road was constructed in 2002: Jambulingam Street in Chennai, India. It has yet to show any signs of wear and tear that typical roads tend to, such as cracks and potholes.
Polymer roads first came about in Europe during the 1970s, but can now be found in the United States, where they are used for truck-traveled or winter-suffering roads.
As the polymer used in the U.S. is costly, an Indian chemistry professor named Dr. R. Vasudevan patented a more frugal process that combined tar and plastic. This method actually reduces construction costs by half.
Other bonuses to the plan are job creation, especially for women who shred the plastic, and safer roads thanks to their better strength.
Here's to India literally paving the way for a greener future.
Thumbnail/banner image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Sudheeshnairs