Connection Between Face Masks and Autobahns
The pandemic has made its adjustments to the usual course of life. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word “coronavirus”? Yes, this is quarantine, antiseptics, and masks. These are boring, unloved by many, but still necessary medical masks. Probably, everyone at least once felt discomfort from this personal protective equipment, but few people think about how this product can affect the environment. The demand for masks has grown more than ever, factories are working at full capacity, we have not yet seen masks produced in such volumes, which means that there are more and more used products. Mankind has an interesting task of how to dispose of the guardians of health who have fulfilled their duty, without spoiling the already endured nature.
Australia coped with the task just brilliantly (let’s give a pat on the resourceful scientist from the University of Technology Melbourne). They suggested building recycled plastic roads from used masks! No, you don’t have to throw garbage at your feet and wait for the road to form itself. They don’t mean it. Scientists have developed a special technology that involves processing the material into a high-quality road surface.
Nearly 7 billion used medical masks are thrown away every day around the world. Just imagine what this mountain will look like if you collect them all in one place! But the bright minds from Australia have unusually solved this problem. The masks were crushed and mixed with RCA, a recycled concrete aggregate made from building rubble. It had to play a little with the proportions, but the ideal ratio was found quickly. So, the ideal was 1% content of recycled masks in the concrete mix.
To build 1 km of a two-lane road, about 93 tons of synthetic waste is needed. This is approximately 3 million masks. Agree, not so little, but so far there is no shortage of this material.
Initially, many doubted that this idea would be implemented, although they considered it interesting and promising.
But everything worked out. This is a huge breakthrough in road construction, and our planet is sincerely grateful for this concern. Besides, how symbolic it is to crush a nasty virus with the wheels of cars, isn’t it a thrill? Maybe very soon we will learn how to recycle absolutely all garbage, start production of non-degradable waste, build houses and roads from what is now strangling the Earth. The trash patch in the Pacific will melt, we will get rid of landfills, and cities will become cleaner and more modern.