MacRebur: Plastic roads pave the way for the future

People all over the world are coming up with innovative ways to reuse plastic in order to help protect the environment, now Scottish start-up, MacRebur, has found a way of crafting roads from recycled plastic.

Over 40% of plastic sits in landfill sites across the globe. A considerable amount of plastic waste also ends up in our waterways – including oceans and rivers. When it comes to repairing road networks – including potholes – around the world, millions are spent on projects each year.

Engineer Toby McCartney has come up with a simple solution – a patented formula, known as MR6, which uses waste plastic to build roads.

Taking a mix of waste plastics, pelletising them and adding them into the making of an enhanced asphalt road, MacRebur use a patented method and recipe to produce new road asphalt out of waste plastic – a process that creates a longer lasting, cheaper road surface that is 60% stronger than standard asphalt.

Normal roads are comprised of around 90 percent rock, sand, and limestone, with 10% bitumen. Bitumen, extracted from crude oil, is the material used to bind roads together.

MacRebur’s process replaces most of the bitumen, and makes use of household waste plastic, farm waste, and commercial waste.

MacRebur’s carefully selected plastics, taken from old rubbish, are added into roads to improve strength and durability, whilst reducing the quantity of the oil-based bitumen used in a traditional road mix.

The idea for the plastic road manufacturing company was born when Toby McCartney, CEO of MacRebur, was working in Southern India with a charity helping people, known as “pickers”, who work on landfill sites .

The pickers would gather potentially reusable items and sell them on to be turned from rubbish into something useful again.

Some of the waste plastics retrieved by the pickers were put into potholes, petrol poured all over them, and the rubbish set alight until the plastics melted into the craters to form a makeshift plastic pothole filler.

Along with the help of his friends, Gordon Reid and Nick Burnett, Toby McCartney set up the plastic road company, MacRebur, which has gone on to receive the backing of Richard Branson.

Last year MacRebur was crowned one of two winners of Virgin Media’s Business VOOM competition, securing a £1 million investment.

MacRebur’s first road was McCartney’s own driveway, and now the company’s roads have been laid in the county of Cumbria.

MacRebur are looking to partner with other councils to use plastic roads.


Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer specialising in sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives:


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