Plastic. Whether you love it or hate, it is everywhere around us and especially in places it shouldn't be. We didn’t even use the word ‘plastic’ until 1925, but in the 50s global plastic production took off and the idea of single use plastics was born. We now create over 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year and plastic production is expected to double in the next 20 years. We’ve been taught to believe that the answer lies in the 3Rs. But this isn’t enough. Only 9% of our plastic is actually recycled, 12% is incinerated and 79% remains in our landfills and waterways. To build a more sustainable world, we need to create innovations that upcycle our existing plastic waste.
Last20 was created in response to the plastic waste and climate crisis. Our team understands the complexity of this issue and we recognize the importance of upcycling for businesses and individuals.
Founded by siblings Lucas and Lauren Barnes in 2018; we began as a sustainable clothing brand - Last20 Apparel. For every shirt that we sold, we would collect and properly recycle 20 plastic water bottles at our local recycling drop off centres (this is where the name Last20 came from and why there's a bottle in the logo). We always loved the idea of incorporating plastic waste into the shirts, so sourced materials that upcycle waste plastic bottles into the fabric for a customer to wear instead of them ending up in our landfills and oceans - exactly 6 plastic bottles.
In 2019, we reviewed our operations and brainstormed industries that could benefit from upcycling plastic waste, we knew there was much more impact to be generated and this was the pivotal moment for our organization to focus on sustainable pavement!
With vast amounts of resources and material needed for infrastructure, surley there had to be an opportunity for plastic upcycling in the construction sector. After extensive research and analysis, we launched Last20 Pavement - a proprietary operation focused on creating plastic infused pavement. We are supplementing a portion of bitumen, the common binding agent in traditional pavement with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) one of the hardest plastics to recycle. India has been upcycling plastic waste into pavement for almost 2 decades, but it hasn’t been until recently in 2018 that pilots have been initiated in other parts of the world, and in cooler climates. As a Canadian founded startup, we knew this would be an amazing research opportunity to test this technology in our varying Canadian climate temperatures and aggregate (pun intended) more data on its performance to help shift the industry to more eco-friendly materials.
In 2020, as we continued to develop our plastic pavement solution, we also launched our sustainability podcast - Sustainable Sessions where we host experts, businesses and public figures in this niche to lead conversations on climate change, talk about solutions that are being developed and inspire individual action!
In 2021, we completed our very first batch trial test of our plastic pavement solution in Brantford, Ontario with our strategic partners - CTA Lab, King Paving, Gedco and our proprietary waste plastic source to upcycle over 600 lbs of waste LDPE into sustainable pavement. We will continue to monitor the ongoing impacts of our solution with Carleton University.
Plastic Pavement Explained
Company Culture & Values
Learn more about our company's mission, vision and core values in our employee handbook.