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New factory opens to turn plastic waste into road surfacing

By Conor Riordan, Press Association Scotland

A new factory dedicated to turning plastic waste into material for roads and car parks has opened, as part of efforts to tackle ocean pollution.

MacRebur opened its site in Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, on Tuesday, creating 12 jobs.

The process the firm uses sees rubbish granulated, mixed with an activator developed by the company, and then distributed to asphalt producers.

It is hoped the idea could be replicated elsewhere and help tackle ocean pollution.

Toby McCartney, CEO, said: "The opening of our first ever factory is an important milestone in our mission to tackle two issues - plastic waste and potholed roads.

"Our technology means that we can not only help solve the problem of plastic waste but also produce roads that cope better with changes in the weather, reducing cracks and potholes.

"That's because our roads are more flexible thanks to the properties of the plastic used in them, so although a MacRebur road looks the same as any other, it has improved strength and durability.

"Our technology also means there are no plastic microbeads present in the mix and we can even recycle the road at the end of its lifespan, creating a circular economy that is sustainable and cost effective."

The company's mix allows the bitumen used in the production of asphalt to be extended and enhanced, reducing the amount of fossil fuel used.

On a 1km stretch of road, the equivalent of approximately 684,000 bottles or 1.8 million single-use plastic bags would be used.

MacRebur roads have already been laid around the world - from Australia to Yorkshire - using plastic waste processed by other companies.

However, the new factory will bring this processing in-house and provide a blueprint for others which the company is seeking to license in the UK and across the globe.

It has signed agreements for its first two licensed factories in Europe.

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