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IJESD 2019 Vol.10(12): 456-460 ISSN: 2010-0264
doi: 10.18178/ijesd.2019.10.12.1216

Using Plastic Bags in Roadways

Gabriela Kuran, Catarina Figueiredo Mendes, and Gautham Das

Abstract—Mass production of plastics began just six decades ago and has rapidly accelerated, creating 8.3 billion metric tons of waste, which exists mostly as disposable products that end up as trash. Incorporating plastic waste in the design of roads can be one alternative for preventing further pollution and minimizing existing plastic waste. The purpose of this research is to characterize the potential risks associated with the implementation of plastic to asphalt. Samples included the following Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) plastic bags, and plastic pellets. These samples were tested for the concentration of Lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), and Chromium (Cr). All samples were digested and analyzed using: Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES) testing, Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AA) testing, X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF) testing, and the Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer (FTIR). XRF results indicated that black plastic bags had 0.132% of Cr and white plastic bags had 0.01% of Cr. All the other metals in consideration were non-detect or in the parts per trillion range. The extraction results using the ICP-AES indicated Pb concentrations of 12 mg/kg which does not exceed the USEPA permissible standards. Additional testing for Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni), and Antimony (Sb) will be conducted in upcoming procedures.

Index Terms—Heavy metals in plastic, LDPE, plastics, sustainability.

The authors are with Wentworth Institute of Technology, City of Boston, Massachusetts, United States (e-mail: gabby3k7@gmail.com, fmendescatarina@gmail.com).


Cite: Gabriela Kuran, Catarina Figueiredo Mendes, and Gautham Das, "Using Plastic Bags in Roadways," International Journal of Environmental Science and Development vol. 10, no. 12, pp. 456-460, 2019.

Copyright © 2019 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-0264 (Print)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Environ. Sci. Dev.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJESD
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Richard Haynes
  • Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Indexing: Scopus (since 2019), DOAJCrossref, ProQuest, EBSCO, etc. 
  • E-mail: ijesd@ejournal.net