Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance industries has approached National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for offering its 'waste plastic-to-road' technology that uses end-of-life plastic for road construction.

The company has already piloted few projects and has constructed nearly 40 km road by mixing 50 tonne of end-of-life plastic waste with bitumen at it's Nagothane manufacturing site in Raigad district.

"It took us some 14-18 months to develop this mechanism where we can use the end-of-life waste plastic like packaging of snacks and flimsy polyethylene bags, among others, in road construction.

"We are in talks with the NHAI to share our experience and to help the use of end-of-life plastic for road construction," company's COO Petrochemicals Business Vipul Shah told reporters.

Along with NHAI, RIL is also in talks with state governments and local bodies across the country for offering its technology, he said.

Explaining the benefits of the usage of this waste plastic, Shah said, "it not only ensures sustainable utilisation of plastic but is also financially viable".

Our experience showed that 1 km of road uses 1 mt of waste plastic and can save nearly Rs 1 lakh as it can be utilised as a substitute to bitumen to the extent of 8-10 per cent. So, roughly we saved Rs 40 lakh. Besides, this plastic also enhances the quality of roads, he said.

He said the roads made using this plastic were completed in two months and sustained the torrential rains of last year without any erosion.

"NHAI is expected to construct 10,000 km of roads with average four lanes in FY2021, which is around 40,000 km of roads that can use nearly 40,000 mt of waste plastics. Besides, other state authorities and local bodies are expected to construct 23,000 km of around four lane roads.

"This is a good 86,000 mt of waste plastic," RIL Head business development sustainable solutions KRS Narayan said.

He however added that the biggest challenge in this process is collection and segregation of this waste plastic, a process know-how that we can offer.

"We have still not decided about the commercial model for this. Going forward, we may consider developing products that could be used directly in road construction. But this will happen once we see the market for this business," Shah added. PTI PSK

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