The Road to Reuse

by T. Taylor Eighmy, Res. Prof. of Civ. Engrg. and Dir.; Recycled Materials Resour. Ctr., Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, NH,
Bryan J. Magee, Principal Res.; TRL Ltd., Crowthorne, U.K.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2001, Vol. 71, Issue 9, Pg. 66-71,81

Document Type: Feature article


Many types of wastes and by-products have potential uses in the highway environment. Applications for recycled materials include asphalt pavement, portland cement concrete pavement, granular bases and subbases, stabilized bases, embankments, structural fills, flowable fills, soil cover, and erosion control. States have taken varied approaches in conducting beneficial use determinations, particularly on less traditional materials. A number of state departments of transportation have established recycling coordinator positions, and California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas all have active programs. Such federal agencies as the Federal Highway Administration and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program have developed national programs and guidelines related to recycling, including efforts to reduce barriers to the use of recycled materials and to allow successful practices to easily cross state boundaries. The Recycled Materials Resource Center also works nationally to promote the use of recycled materials in highways. In Europe, the Netherlands offers a model for regions of the United States where population densities are high, natural aggregates are scarce, and sources of suitable recycled materials are plentiful. The upcoming reauthorization of the next highway bill in Congress provides an opportunity to promote appropriate recycling, partnerships, technology transfer, and research and development.

Subject Headings: Recycling | Highways and roads | Concrete pavements | Asphalt pavements | Research and development | Highway barriers | Granular materials

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