Rubber modified asphalt
Brian Kent, national technical director, Materials
At Tarmac, we are proud to lead the way on sustainability and great ideas. Our latest solution is a new asphalt technology that recycles waste and scrap tyres. As the UK producing 40 million tyres each year, it is a technology with incredible potential for improving the environment.
The mix design was created by our Materials team at the National Technical Centre in Wolverhampton . It blends together broken-down granulated tyre rubber, bitumen and crushed stone, and uses the equivalent of 1.5 waste tyres in every tonne of asphalt.
We’ve seen huge public demand for businesses like ours to put plastics in asphalt as a way of reducing the problem of plastic waste. However, we’ve tested these mixes and some of the currently available plastic technology can be detrimental to the quality of the asphalt. So instead of following the crowd, we got creative. Our rubberised asphalt is an industry first. Customers who care about the environment can choose this responsible product, with no compromise on quality.
We first ran trials with a German company back in 2011. Then, five years ago, our Contracting team in North and Scotland picked up the reins once again, supplying the product to their local authority, which was keen to lead the way on sustainability. Since then, further to additional development work, we have supplied three more local authorities with rubberised asphalt and have an exciting contract with Highways England. After securing £75,000 from Highway England’s designated innovation fund, we have installed new equipment at our Mountsorrel asphalt plant. This means that we will be able to supply large volumes of the product to resurface the M1. It will be the first time Highways England has used it on their network, so it marks a huge step forward for us.
The Highways England contract is a real endorsement of the product from a key client. Now, we are ready to expand and promote the use of rubber in asphalt through our network. We are planning to invest in the technology needed to create the mix at our asphalt plants in appropriate locations – so we can say to customers across Britain that they can have rubber in their asphalt from Tarmac – and make the roads they lay greener than ever before.