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Riding India's plastic highway

Too much garbage. Not enough roads. The solution seems obvious.

Prominent Bangalore streets like Millers Road, JC Road, Cunningham Road and Double Road are already using the patented process that mixes shredded plastic waste with asphalt to form a durable material called polymerized bitumen.

Ahmed Khan says the shredded plastic binds the road material, cutting down on the need for constant repair. Since plastic is water resistant, there is less damage during heavy rains which account for the bulk of the damage to roads.

Khan says adding shredded plastic at least doubles the lifespan of non-plastic roads, which typically last three years.

Following its early success, the company is now bidding for plastic road-laying projects in New Delhi and Mumbai. They also say city governments in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nigeria are looking to ride the plastic highway.

Ironically, the Khans first ran a company that produced thousands of bags and other cheap plastic products. They say they saw the folly in their ways by reading and listening to environmentalists.

Call it plastic karma.