What to do with all those disposable masks? Turn them into roads, researchers say.
On of the many adverse effects of the pandemic on the environment has been the sheer amount of waste generated. More people are using more items like disinfectant wipes anything where you might of fudged the lines on perceived hygiene in the name of sustainability before some people of now thrown in the towel on that and picked up a paper towel instead in there are a laundry list of items that are good for sanitation or preventing virus transmission but bad for the environment and high up on that list masks surgical masks and ninety five k. And ninety five's any kind that's meant to be used. Only once or a handful of times risking it as demands say there are six point eight billion disposable mask being used around the world each day so this is a big problem. Well at our. Mit tech and design university in melbourne are experimenting with using disposable face masks to create roads in a study published in the journal science of the total environment. They looked first at the possibility of incorporating the masks into road building materials and then into their engineering benefits. Quoting are mit university. Roads are made of four layers. Sub-grade base sa- base and asphalt on top all the layers must be both strong and flexible to withstand the pressures of heavy vehicles and prevent cracking processed building rubble known as recycled concrete aggregate or rca can potentially be used its own for these three base layers but the researchers found adding shredded face masks to rca enhances the material while simultaneously addressing environmental challenges onto fronts ppe disposal and construction waste construction renovation and demolition account for about half the waste produced annually worldwide and australia. About three point one five million tonnes of rca is to stockpiles each year rather than being reused. The study identified an optimal mixture. One percent shredded face masks to ninety nine percent. Rca that delivers on strength. While maintaining good cohesion between the two materials the michener performs well when tested for stress acid and water resistance as well as strength defamation and dynamic properties meeting all the relevant civil engineering specifications and quotes the researchers say that using their recycled road material for just one kilometer of a two lane. Road would use three million masks and therefore seven ninety three million tons of waste from going to the landfill now one thing they need to further research is how the process would change when they incorporate. Sterilizing used face masks. Because so far the experiments were conducted using unused still professor g lee. Who leads the are. Mit school of engineering research team said quote if we can bring circular economy thinking to this massive waste problem. We can develop the smart and sustainable solutions. We need and quotes and until such a program comes to your local area. Don't forget to snip the year bands of your masks before you throw them away to prevent sea critters from getting stuck in