John M. Kurdziel, P.E.
Papers # 2014 Chicago
A great deal of attention has been paid in recent years for the development of sustainable products with zero waste. At the core of many of these discussions has been the utilization of recycled plastics. One of the largest outlets or utilization of recycled thermoplastics, specifically high density polyethylene (HDPE), has been in plastic pipe. This application provides an excellent outlet for many disposable plastics, which would otherwise be placed in landfills or discarded in an environmentally detrimental fashion. If designed and processed correctly, plastic pipe provides not only a sustainable outlet for discarded plastics, but a highly beneficial and long-term infrastructure benefit. When recycled plastics are processed into pipe, they are blended with a number of admixtures and a combination of recycled resin streams to enhance their engineering properties for their desired end use. These long-term end uses include land drainage: parking lots, agricultural fields, private developments; storm sewers: municipal drainage and sewers, roadways; and sanitary sewers: waste disposal and transport. Each of these applications has different engineering requirements due to their project’s service life, durability concerns and loading conditions. This paper provides recommended engineering design criteria for recycled HDPE pipe for each of these applications and the critical aspects of the HDPE recycled materials that must be considered for these end uses.