The world’s first PlasticRoad bike path opened recently in Zwolle, the Netherlands. Made from recycled plastic, the PlasticRoad is a completely circular product, with a significantly smaller carbon footprint than traditional road structures thanks to the longer lifespan and the reduction of transport movements involved in its construction, according to developers – Dutch firms KWS and Wavin and France’s Total.
The first PlasticRoad in the world was unveiled on September 11. It is a 30-meter bike path containing recycled plastic equivalent to more than 218,000 plastic cups or 500,000 plastic bottle caps. The pilot location is equipped with sensors to monitor the road’s performance – including temperature, the number of bike passages, and the durability of the road. With these sensors, this PlasticRoad is the first smart bike path in the world.
A second pilot PlasticRoad bike path is expected to be installed by the end of 2018, also in the Netherlands, in the town of Giethoorn.
High-value second life for plastic waste
Worldwide, 350 million tons of plastic are used every year and the largest portion of plastic reaching end-of-life is still landfilled or incinerated, and the PlasticRoad creates a high-value second life for plastic waste by recycling it and using it to build roads. The end goal is to use 100% recycled plastic in the production of the PlasticRoad, according to the developers.
In addition to a possible solution for waste plastic, the PlasticRoad is a way to build roads faster, with less impact on the surroundings and with less CO2 emissions. The prefab, modular elements make this possible and the hollow construction offers a solution for improved water drainage in the case of heavy rain fall.
Market leaders join forces for a circular solution
KWS is the market leader in road construction and the production of asphalt in the Netherlands. The market requirements in terms of noise reduction, flooding, longevity, and sustainability inspired the idea of the PlasticRoad, according to the project’s website.
As a market leader in the recycling of plastic, Wavin is the perfect partner to introduce its knowledge and experience in the field to the project. Another added value of Wavin in this collaboration is their specialization in making plastic products for rainwater drainage.
Total has extensive knowledge in the field of plastics as well. The company makes important contributions to the project with regards to improving the properties of plastics, the recycling of plastics and the available production techniques, according to the project’s website.