./   Environmentally Beneficial Landscaping
                               New Jersey's Milk Jug Bridge
    The first bridge made entirely from recycled plastic has been constructed over the Mullica River
    in Wharton State Park, New Jersey. This single-lane bridge is a 42-foot long fire equipment
    access road, strong enough to support a fully loaded fire truck weighing 36,000 pounds.

    Researchers at Rutgers University patented a process that creates a super-strong material
    from post-consumer plastics like polystyrene cups and polyethylene milk jugs. Through the
    process, two or more  plastic polymers are melted together, resulting in a much stronger
    material than either of the polymers alone. This process creates plastic with enough strength
    and durability to be used as bridge I-beams, railroad ties, and decking—three of many

    The new bridge in Wharton State Park is virtually indestructible: it is not affected by water or
    weather, and it needs none of the painting and maintenance required of steel and wooden
    structures. It was completed in November 2002 and over time, sunlight and other natural
    elements will help the plastic form a thin protective coating and a  finish that will help the bridge
    visually blend into the natural surroundings.

    Designed  by McLaren Engineering, this bridge is the first project  that uses the Rutgers
    technology. It is constructed from large I-beams that are supported  by posts and connected by
    smaller I-beams.  The road surface consists of 3-inch thick tongue and groove decking material.
    The Polywood Corporation created all materials from a blend of polyethylene and polystyrene.

    Rutgers' Center for Advanced Materials—via Immiscible Polymer  Processing (AMIPP), the
    patenter of the process—is currently working on similar technologies to create advanced
    materials for automotive, aerospace, and biomedical applications, including a synthetic bone
    material that will promote tissue growth when implanted  in the body.

    For more information, go to Rutgers University Center for Advanced Materials via
    Immiscible Polymer Processing's Web site: .
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (5306W)
July 2003