In an effort to go greener, San Francisco-based Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has replaced approximately 400 wooden railroad ties with recycled plastic ties, according to BART board and Sustainability/Green Committee member Bob Franklin.
"What we're doing is swapping out worn wooden railroad ties with plastic ones made from recycled grocery bags, milk bottles and old car tires. These plastic ties are incredibly strong, last twice as long and are three times cleaner to make than the wooden ones,” said BART Board President Gail Murray.
According to researchers, the process to make plastic ties out of discarded grocery bags, car tires and milk bottles is at least three times cleaner than the process to make a wooden railroad tie.
Additionally, once the useful life of a plastic tie is up, it can be recycled into other plastic products. Currently, BART sends its worn out wooden ties to make electricity through cogeneration — a process that burns wood to help produce electricity in an environmentally-friendly way.