Stronger concrete using plastic bottles

Sustainability Problem:

Concrete is the second most widely used construction material in the world, after water. Manufacturing and transporting concrete is responsible for 4.5 percent of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Also, there is a huge amount of plastic that is landfilled every year.

Technology Solution:

Team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been working on the impact of adding bits of irradiated plastic into cement.

This technology takes plastic out of the landfill, locks it up in concrete, and also uses less cement to make the concrete, which makes fewer carbon dioxide emissions. The plastic is first blasted with gamma rays, a process which is completely harmless.

Exposing the plastic to gamma radiation alters the material’s crystalline structure to such a degree that the plastic turns stiffer, tougher, and stronger.  Presence of the gamma-ray irradiated plastic and fly ash enhanced the strength of the concrete by 15 percent. Replacing just 1.5 percent of concrete with plastic makes it stronger, and could have a significant impact. By one calculation, 1.5 percent plastic in concrete implies 0.0675 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions would be slashed.





  1. Construction Industry and Road contractor
  2. Environmental NGO’s
  3. Municipalities and city governments
  4. MIT researchers involved in further evolving this technology
  5. Waste collection companies


  1. Identify and partner with governments and NGO’s that support, and are interested in implementing the technology.
  2. Find investors for funds.
  3. Generate pipelines for gathering plastics.
  4. Set up plastic bottle pulverization machines at a local rubbish dump sites.
  5. Identify, educate and partner with construction manufacturers for scalability.
  6. Incentivize contractors for using this new concrete in their future construction projects.
  7. Partner with other developing countries to increase scale of production

UNI – rs3750 (Riya Suthar)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s