Many manufacturers of traffic control devices are currently working to increase the
amounts of postconsumer plastic and rubber used in their products.
b. Technically proven uses. Temporary traffic control devices made with recovered
materials have been produced in the U.S. for several years. Manufacturers have been using
high percentages of crumb rubber buffings in the lower component of traffic cones since the
conception of this device, but have not advertised this fact. The substitution of recovered
materials in the plastic components of traffic control devices is technically and economically
feasible in this application. This is evidenced by the substantial increase in the procurement
of these items by state agencies. A recent multi-state procurement led by the State of New
York involved more than 30,000 traffic cones made with 50 percent total recovered materials
and 6 percent postconsumer materials. A recent procurement by a large city involved more
than 300 traffic barricades made with 100 percent postconsumer recovered content.
Temporary traffic control devices must be stable and clearly visible. Traffic cones
must-be able to withstand impact without damage to themselves or to vehicles. In addition,
temporary traffic control devices must be manageable by work crews transporting, handling,
and storing them. General performance requirements for temporary traffic control devices
involve appearance, size, weight, and durability, manufacturers are currently able to use
recovered materials successfully in the production of these devices and meet applicable
Section 635 of "Standard Specifications for Construction of Roads and Bridges on.
Federal Highway Projects, FP-85" contains the Federal specifications for temporary traffic
control devices. EPA examined the specifications, and found that section 635.02 does not
preclude the use of recovered materials in temporary traffic control devices. Further, the
Federal specifications reference the requirements contained in the MUTCD, which also do
not preclude the use of recovered materials.
In addition to the Federal specifications, state procuring agencies may have additional
materials or performance requirements for temporary traffic control devices. Several state
procuring agencies have additional requirements and programs to test or confirm material
properties of traffic control devices prior to acceptance of shipment. Most of the currently
available traffic barricades containing recovered materials are able to meet or exceed specific
state requirements. In addition, at least five states explicitly specify a preference for traffic
control devices made from recovered materials. One commenter representing several state
highway departments stated that the problems associated with the use of reclaimed materials
in temporary traffic control devices are expected to be minimal.
EPA believes that, as procuring agencies begin to obtain current information about
traffic control devices made with recovered materials, they will find that these devices meet
their performance requirements and will increase usage of these products.
c. Impact of government procurement. Government agencies purchase, or use