Towards Sustainable Concrete Composites through Waste Valorisation of Plastic Food Trays as Low-Cost Fibrous Materials
Recycling of waste plastics is an essential phase towards cleaner production and circular economy. Plastics in different forms, which are non-biodegradable polymers, have become an indispensable ingredient of human life. The rapid growth of the world population has led to increased demand for commodity plastics such as food packaging. Therefore, to avert environment pollution with plastic wastes, sufficient management to recycle this waste is vital. In this study, experimental investigations and statistical analysis were conducted to assess the feasibility of polypropylene type of waste plastic food tray (WPFT) as fibrous materials on the mechanical and impact resistance of concrete composites. The WPFT fibres with a length of 20 mm were used at dosages of 0–1% in two groups of concrete with 100% ordinary Portland cement (OPC) and 30% palm oil fuel ash (POFA) as partial cement replacement. The results revealed that WPFT fibres had an adverse effect on the workability and compressive strength of concrete mixes. Despite a slight reduction in compressive strength of concrete mixtures, tensile and flexural strengths significantly enhanced up to 25% with the addition of WPFT fibres. The impact resistance and energy absorption values of concrete specimens reinforced with 1% WPFT fibres were found to be about 7.5 times higher than those of plain concrete mix. The utilisation of waste plastic food trays in the production of concrete makes it low-cost and aids in decreasing waste discarding harms. The development of new construction materials using WPFT is significant to the environment and construction industry.