Season 3, Post 10: The best idea we have heard for some time… - Heptagon Capital – Production

Since 1950, humans have produced 8.3bn tonnes of plastic, an estimated 90% of which has not been recycled. Last year saw 30% more waste produced than in 2019…

Season 3, Post 10: The best idea we have heard for some time…

Since 1950, humans have produced 8.3bn tonnes of plastic, an estimated 90% of which has not been recycled. Last year saw 30% more waste produced than in 2019, exacerbated by single-use plastics (data from the World Bank and Jeffries respectively). One of the many ‘costs’ of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the proliferation of plastic masks and gloves not to mention more food delivery containers and other similar items. Almost every forecast we encounter suggests the quantity of waste is set only to grow.

Plastic pollution may be one of the biggest challenges facing the planet. It is a topic on which we have written since 2018 and care deeply about at both a professional and personal level. We were therefore delighted when one regular and long-standing reader of our Blog recently shared this article with us. The key idea embedded in it is not only intriguing but also highly compelling and may represent one potential solution to the plastic problem.

Put simply, why not pave roads with plastic? Innovation in geographies as diverse as the UK, India and Ghana has seen the growing experimentation and substitution of a road’s bitumen (tar) surface with repurposed plastic. Everything from bags to bottle tops via polystyrene coffee cups can go into the mix. The simplicity of the underlying technology could well raise the likelihood of significant future deployment: just deposit shredded plastic on top of a mix of crushed stones and sand; heat to around 170 degrees Celsius – so that the plastic melts – and then add a layer of bitumen on the top to help it solidify. Voila, the road is ready. The aesthetics, durability and driving conditions of plastic roads are apparently no different to conventional ones. 

The benefits of such an approach are significant. Three tonnes of carbon dioxide are saved from every kilometre of road paved (since the plastic is incorporated rather than being potentially incinerated). Putting plastic in the mix is also cheaper than comparable alternatives, resulting in savings of over $600 for every kilometre of road. These calculations are derived from work done by the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in India. Since 2015, it has been mandatory in the country for plastic waste to be used in the construction of new roads near large cities. Other countries may do well to learn from this example.

11 March 2021

The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.

Alex Gunz, Fund Manager

Disclaimers

The document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or any recommendation to buy, or sell or otherwise transact in any investments. The document is not intended to be construed as investment research. The contents of this document are based upon sources of information which Heptagon Capital believes to be reliable. However, except to the extent required by applicable law or regulations, no guarantee, warranty or representation (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this document or its contents and, Heptagon Capital, its affiliate companies and its members, officers, employees, agents and advisors do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information or any views expressed herein. Opinions expressed whether in general or in both on the performance of individual investments and in a wider economic context represent the views of the contributor at the time of preparation. Where this document provides forward-looking statements which are based on relevant reports, current opinions, expectations and projections, actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All opinions and estimates included in the document are subject to change without notice and Heptagon Capital is under no obligation to update or revise information contained in the document. Furthermore, Heptagon Capital disclaims any liability for any loss, damage, costs or expenses (including direct, indirect, special and consequential) howsoever arising which any person may suffer or incur as a result of viewing or utilising any information included in this document. 

The document is protected by copyright. The use of any trademarks and logos displayed in the document without Heptagon Capital's prior written consent is strictly prohibited. Information in the document must not be published or redistributed without Heptagon Capital's prior written consent. 

Heptagon Capital LLP, 63 Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HS
tel +44 20 7070 1800
fax +44 20 7070 1881
email [email protected] 

Partnership No: OC307355 Registered in England and Wales Authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 

Related Insights

Featured Insights
Featured Insights08 April 2021

Season 3, Post 14: Fake steak and test-tube tomatoes

Next week marks the reopening of London’s restaurants – at least for outdoor dining – for the first time since December 2020. Menus will likely be full of the joys of spring; perhaps an asparagus starter followed by some young lamb. Needless to say, your author already has several reservations in his diary. While not […]

Learn more
Featured Insights
Featured Insights01 April 2021

Season 3, Post 13: Life on Mars

Plans are afoot to build the first human city on Mars. Yes, you did read that sentence correctly; it is not an April Fool’s Day spoof. Spanish design firm and think-tank ABIBOO released plans last week for a conceptual city on the red planet that would see construction commence in 2054 with the intention for […]

Learn more
Featured Insights
Featured Insights25 March 2021

Season 3, Post 12: At the nexus of innovation

Your author has spent his last two afternoons virtually in New York. It’s obviously nowhere near as exciting as being in the city itself, but the NEXUS:ISRAEL Dealmakers’ Summit was arguably the most interesting online event I have attended in the last year. Organised in conjunction by Landmark Ventures and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, […]

Learn more

Get The Updates

Separated they live in Bookmarks right at the coast of the famous Semantics, large language ocean Separated they live in Bookmarks right