After huge wastage of face masks, researchers have found they can be used to make roads
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Facemasks have become part of everyday life since the pandemic began. Although there are washable masks, the vast majority use disposable masks, which despite being more effective, are more costly. One of their main problems is the amount of waste they generate.
So much so that more than 1,560 million masks ended up in the ocean, which is very bad news for the environment. However, the remedy may be closer than expected. It is worth noting that these can take up to 4 centuries to decompose.
Now, Australian researchers have published a study in the journal The Science of the Total Environment in which they have found a way to make the masks part of the debris conglomerate from which roads are made.
The mastics made up only 1% of the mix, but improved it, giving the mix greater cohesion in the various tests and making it suitable for civil engineering construction. The compound also contained other compounds such as reinforced concrete, which is the fundamental element necessary for an optimal result.
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On this occasion, 6.8 million face masks were used, but this time they were new and not reused, because for the process to be safe, they must first be disinfected. This quantity of face masks was enough to make a 0.6-mile, just under a kilometer, two-lane road.
“If we can bring circular economy thinking to this huge waste problem, we can develop the smart, sustainable solutions we need,” notes Jie Li, director of the research.
Source: Interesting Engineering
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