Plastics Pathway paves Toronto Zoo trail

The Plastics Pathway, an initiative of Pollution Probe, the Toronto Zoo and GreenMantra Technologies, has paved a section of trail at the zoo using asphalt containing materials produced from recycled plastic.

The 470 m2 of newly paved pathway showcases an innovative circular solution for plastic, incorporating the equivalent of 100,000 plastic bags worth of post-consumer recycled plastic material. Mixing the asphalt with GreenMantra’s specialty polymer helped reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfill, while increasing the durability of the pavement and extending its life.

“We are incredibly excited about this new element of the Plastics Pathway as it showcases Canadian innovation and collaboration in finding feasible circular solutions for plastic,” says Christopher Hilkene, CEO at Pollution Probe. “Infusing the pathway at the Zoo with GreenMantra’s product and asphalt formulated by GIP demonstrates that hard-to-recycle plastics can be given a new life that keeps them in the economy and out of landfills and the environment.”

Paving was made possible through the collaboration of the project partners, Green Infrastructure Partners Inc. (GIP), which formulated the recycled material and asphalt, and Green Infrastructure Partners Inc. (GIP), which laid the asphalt on-site at the Toronto Zoo. Traditionally, asphalt relies on a mix of stone, sand, gravel, and bitumen that can break down from Canada’s harsh climate and heavy traffic.

“Being green starts with thinking green. And every step counts,” says GIP’s Steven Manolis, Executive Vice President, Materials Engineering. “This project should inspire all of us to re-imagine how infrastructure can help make the world sustainable. Engineering high-performance, long-lasting infrastructure with recycled materials is truly a great approach to sustainability. If this approach was widely adopted, even small projects like Toronto’s bike lanes could keep hundreds of millions of plastic bags from landfills.”

Making use of GreenMantra’s Ceranovus waxes will enhance the performance of the asphalt. The waxes are certified as 100% recycled content, produced from waste plastic including film, milk jugs, food containers, and grocery bags.

“We are thrilled to see the next phase of the Plastics Pathway come to life. One of the important parts of this initiative for us is showcasing how waste plastics, when they’re converted into additives, can not only increase sustainability but also add value and performance to an asphalt pavement,” says Domenic Di Mondo, President at GreenMantra Technologies. “Pathways are the arteries that connect cities, businesses, and people across the globe. Partnerships like this one are critical to educating people on the innovative solutions to the waste plastic crisis that are available both locally and globally.”

A number of elements of this interactive exhibit are aimed at increasing public understanding and engagement, including those related to plastic in the environment, collection, sortation and recycling, sustainable design and recycled content and upcycling. Real-life examples of hard-to-recycle plastics that have been transformed into new products, as seen in this paving phase, provide inspiration for finding practical, long-term solutions to the plastic pollution issue.