Setting a new benchmark for sustainability in Sri Lanka’s burgeoning construction industry, leading property developer, John Keells Properties partnered AGC to incorporate Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete (PMAC) paving into its construction projects, including Crescat Boulevard and Cinnamon Life.
Supported by John Keells Holdings’ pioneering social entrepreneurship project, Plasticycle, the new partnership with AGC Innovate aims to help solve Sri Lanka’s plastic waste crisis by creating stable, sustainable solutions by utilizing PMAC-based materials across JKP’s expanding portfolio of construction projects.
“Pollution caused by single-use plastics and non-recyclable plastic material are among the most severe environmental issues of our time. By leveraging AGC Innovate’s expertise in PMAC to complete our road surfaces, we establish a pathway towards circular economies in the Sri Lankan construction sector,” said Inoke Perera, Chief Operating Officer, John Keells Properties.
Before the pandemic, it was estimated that over 46,000 pieces (269,000 tons) of plastic polluted one square mile of the Indian Ocean on average, while Sri Lanka generates approximately 7,000 metric tons of mismanaged solid waste daily, of which 6% is comprised of plastic and polythene waste. Unfortunately, at present, plastic packaging alternatives struggle to compete on value, durability, and versatility. Hence even though, the environmental impacts of improperly disposed plastic is undeniable, the use of such materials, are likely to continue over at least the short-medium term.
Collection and recycling of waste plastic – which would otherwise take many hundreds of years to degrade at minimum – is the logical solution to the problem of plastic pollution. The development of PMAC for road construction is one such solution which has the potential to have a significant impact on the challenge of plastic pollution, while supporting socio-economic development.
By turning these waste materials into an industrial raw material, JKP and AGC Innovate will use waste plastic as a substitute for a percentage of fossil fuels like bitumen, when constructing roads whose paving quality is significantly higher than conventional asphalt. This in turn creates a secondary use for what is often single-use plastics, while also resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions, enabling further positive impacts on JKP’s efforts to lower its carbon footprint. At the same time, the PMAC model creates modified asphalt roads which are safer, smoother, and more cost-effective in addition to being significantly more environmentally friendly and durable.
With the commission of PMAC paving at Crescat Boulevard and JKP’s flagship mixed-development, Cinnamon Life, a total of 150 kgs and 792 kgs of waste plastic has been recycled and used for roads at both properties. This is collectively equivalent to approximately 41,000 and 211,000 single use plastic bags respectively, which would otherwise have ended up being dumped in landfills or contributing to the pollution of keystone land and marine ecosystems.
Both projects provided fresh opportunities to demonstrate the versatility of PMAC paving. At Crescat, AGC was able to accommodate clients’ requirements, engineering parameters, compliance with applicable standards, in a unique working location
Similarly, at Cinnamon Life, JKP’s iconic 4.5 million square foot integrated mixed-use development, AGC Innovate successfully adapted construction plans to suit situational needs after construction had already commenced. Given that the development encompasses a public road, additional permissions were obtained from the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to also include Glennie Street within the PMAC paving project as well.
According to Dr. Judith Samaranayaka, Director & Chief Technology Officer of AGC Innovate and Former Head, Research and Development, Road Development Authority Sri Lanka ” Infrastructure development adds value to the society and the country. When infrastructure development embodies sustainable ecological and best of green technology, the benefits are boundless. AGC Innovate is privileged to be associated with JKP in this ecofriendly partnership “former
With the groundwork for both projects now complete, JKP aims to consistently work with AGC Innovate on all future road paving projects using PMAC technology. The partnership is expected to provide a much-needed boost to efforts around clearing plastic pollution and enhancing environmental sustainability.
World Bank: 5 reasons why South Asia is coming together to beat marine plastic pollution https://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/5-reasons-why-south-asia-coming-together-beat-marine-plastic-pollution
 IPEN Plastic Waste Management Country Situation Report – Sri Lanka: https://ipen.org/sites/default/files/documents/plastic_waste_management_in_sri_lanka.pdf