Paving News & Insights

The Most Recycled Product in the World Just Got Better

November 30, 2021
The Most Recycled Product in the World Just Got Better

Recycled Polyethylene (RPE) Paving Projects

Since the 1930's, reclaimed asphalt pavement, or RAP, has been used to produce new asphalt material for paving. The practice has long been known to reduce the use of petroleum-based products, conserve energy, conserve natural resources by requiring less virgin aggregate, and lower the cost of construction. Kansas Asphalt recently partnered with Target and Meijer to take that environmental practice one step further.

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After more than a year of planning and preparation, Kansas Asphalt’s Recycled Polyethylene (RPE) paving projects have been completed. Partnering with forward-thinking and eco-friendly companies, Meijer and Target, Kansas Asphalt installed over 12,000 tons of asphalt mix integrated with the store’s own post-consumer plastic to create a beautiful, long-lasting surface. The mix design lowers green house emissions and energy consumption, not to mention keeping plastic out of landfills.

Meijer Parking Lot Renovation

The Meijer project took place at a large grocery store in Michigan. The job consisted of a complete parking lot renovation with full-depth reconstruction. The formulation of the liquid asphaltic concrete containing 2% recycled polyethylene was created by Dow Chemical, and the hot mix was produced and installed by Rieth Riley Construction Company.

Overhead view of Michigan project

Dennis Caldwell, Lead Field Safety Manager for Kansas Asphalt, was onsite for the project. “I was intrigued by Meijer’s goal for green construction and new sustainable building methods and was able to see the material in person after working on the project for nine months. I noticed the mix had a more consistent and smoother look compared to other mixes in the area,” said Caldwell. “I’m excited to see down the road how the pavement holds together and if more opportunities present themselves to allow for this unique mix to be used.”

The laydown and the handling of the material was excellent considering the amount of plastic in the mix and the differing texture. The result was a definite success.

Target RPE Paving Project

The Target project was located in southern California. Kansas Asphalt installed 2,800 tons of asphalt with mix design and production provided by Granite Construction. The mix was made with reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) as well as 2,200 of the store’s recycled plastic bags and 1,200 plastic bottles.

Target RPE Project

The plastic was used as part of the bonding agent in the liquid asphalt with post-consumer products totaling 10% of the binder. The overall effect of this recycling project prevented 900 cubic yards of waste from entering a landfill.

“There was a learning curve in mastering the handling of the new material, but once we adapted to the differences, the laydown was quite simple.”

- Chuck Jeffries, CEO of Kansas Asphalt

Target RPE Project Target RPE Project
Target RPE Project Target RPE Project


Innovative Asphalt Paving

Kansas Asphalt is thrilled to be part of this new technology and is committed to finding innovative ways to make what we do even better for our world. We would like to thank all our partners who made these projects possible for their foresight and commitment to the planet we share.

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