The Dec. 17 editorial of this newspaper entitled “Better roads are good for safety, climate” mentioned “poor road design.” Besides safety for pedestrians, improved road design should also include recycling the tons and tons of plastic, glass, and rubber into more durable asphalt and for which we taxpayers spend tons and tons of money to landfill recyclables and to pay for the very high cost of asphalt — and to the great environmental damage to our state and planet.

I am a retired longtime municipal attorney and have seen and have litigated landfills. Since 2018 when Gov. Mills was first elected, I have been pushing DOT along with the governor’s office and her Office of Innovation and the Future, as well as the DEP to add plastics, glass and rubber to asphalt in Maine, just as several other states do and as much of Europe does. I have asked for updates on this matter to DOT’s director of materials testing and exploration once or twice a year.

Rather than taking the initiative the Maine DOT has just kicked the proverbial plastic can down the road to their national association which in 2020 finally funded a “special committee” and finally this year 2021 were “to begin the process of picking a research team!” On June 14, 2021, I received an email from DOT’s Chief Engineer Joyce Taylor informing me that “I apologize if you’ve had the impression this issue is of the highest priority,” and that this matter will take three to four years of study by the national association!

This is not acceptable in my opinion. Our area recycler based in Waterville is ready and willing to shred the tons of plastic, glass, and rubber waste he receives and which he would then have ready for the asphalt suppliers once the Maine DOT comes up with an asphalt-recyclables recipe instead of ignoring this crucial environmental and costly calamity. Our planet and our state and our pocketbooks cannot wait.


Peter Beckerman


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