Daniel Currence, Michael Plumier
# 2021 Amsterdam
Over a ten-year period, the North American corrugated plastic pipe industry successfully demonstrated that post-consumer and post-industrial recycled materials could be responsibly incorporated into corrugated pipes used for drainage applications. Prior to this work, the material standards were established for manufacturing using only virgin HDPE resin. The end result has been an expanded opportunity for corrugated HDPE pipe producers to utilize post-consumer recycled plastic and to feature a strong message on the sustainability of their product.
This paper will describe the process used to enact this successful transition, from concept to published standard. Included in this review will be:
1.Factors that drove owners/agencies toward the initial research;
2. How the scope of initial research on material testing was identified and funded;
3. How results from the initial materials research led to extended lab and field research;
4. Identifying key material testing needs and establishing standard test methods;
5. Key decisions reached by the industry leading to a proposed material standard for pipe produced with recycled content;
6. Overcoming objections from within plastic pipe industry and from the concrete pipe industry;
7. Reaching consensus among US DOT representatives to pass a major standard revision;
8. Establishing quality assurance parameters;
9. Transitioning and implementing the new standard into practice; and
10.Industry initiatives to promote the new standards.
This process was specifically beneficial to the North American corrugated plastic pipe industry in its quest to use recycle materials in public right-of-way drainage applications. On a broader scale, it serves as guidance to navigate the 10-years’ worth of research, identifies key aspects to consider and helps other countries address the ever-increasing discarded plastic throughout all parts of the globe. Regardless of the change being pursued or the standards body that must be engaged, the ten steps described are likely to be very similar around world.