What happens to all the plastic you throw away? What if it could be reused to improve something in people's everyday lives? Toby McCartney, an engineer from Scotland, was working in India with a charity that helped pickers. Pickers are people that sort through giant mountains of trash to find plastic bottles, bags, and cartons. Then the pickers sell those reusable items to companies that recycle them into other products. Toby discovered that some of the plastic waste was being melted down to fix potholes in their roads. Once the plastic hardened, it filled the holes! This gave Toby an idea for a new type of material to create better roads all around the world.
Toby, with the help of two friends, created a mixture of recycled plastic and asphalt for a new type of road. He used plastics that are not easily recycled, and would usually end up in a landfill. Toby tested their new mixture on his driveway and discovered it worked great! Their road design helped solve three world challenges: find a use for plastic that is polluting our environment, reduce the cost of creating new roads and repairing them, and make roads that are stronger and last a long time! The team is now working on creating mixtures for different climates, such as the Middle East and Canada.
How could you use plastic to solve a world challenge? Show us your ideas in the design section!