Studying Post-Consumer Plastic in Cold Climate Asphalt

  • Alberta

Inter Pipeline is committed to making polymers as sustainably as possible. It believes in keeping plastic waste out of the environment by using that waste in practical solutions that are applicable in everyday life.

At the recent Plastics Research in Action (PRIA) annual update, the research team shared updates on the PRIA Asphalt Project, which studies the use of post-consumer plastic in asphalt in Alberta’s cold climate and entered its field trial stage this summer.

The purpose of this research is actually to test, validate and demonstrate the blending of post-consumer plastics into asphalt for Alberta climate conditions,” said Dr. Adetoyese Oyedun, Senior Project Manager, NAIT. “Similar work has been done in other climates, but, especially because of the nature of the climate in Alberta, it is different and is difficult, so that’s why we went down this path.”

PRIA is a ten-year research partnership between Heartland Polymers, Inter Pipeline’s polypropylene brand, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), focused on identifying opportunities for society to reuse and recycle plastic waste as well optimizing facility processes in the Heartland Polymers operation.

Industry and Research Coming Together

Working alongside PRIA partner GreenMantra Technologies, the team identified suitable waxes for blending with Alberta asphalt samples, and then alongside PRIA partner McAsphalt Industries Limited, tested and confirmed the modified asphalt product met the testing requirements for Alberta roadways and climate conditions. After determining a polypropylene-based wax performed best and provided a relatively higher resistance to cracking, the team entered the third phase of the project, laying the test asphalt for field demonstrations.

The modified plastic asphalt was laid at four sites that could be monitored and evaluated over the various weather conditions experienced throughout the year, including at Inter Pipeline’s Heartland Petrochemical Complex, Sturgeon County, Strathcona County and Alexander First Nation.

Watch the video below to learn more about the asphalt project and hear from several partners and collaborators who have helped make the asphalt project a success.

Plastics Research in Action

Our ten-year agreement with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology will uncover new ways to reuse and recycle plastic in Canada.

Plastics Research


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