A road full of bottlenecks: Dutch cycle path is made of plastic waste

13th September 2018 | Recycling

The world’s first plastic bicycle path made of recycled bottles, cups and packaging has opened in the Netherlands, as part of a pilot that could see similar roads open up across the country. The 30-metre path, made of recycled plastic equivalent to more than 218,000 plastic cups, is expected to be three times as durable as an asphalt alternative. It also contains sensors to monitor the road’s performance, including its temperature, the number of bikes that pass over it and its ability to cope with the traffic.

The prefabricated sections of cycle path are light and hollow making them easy to transport and 70% quicker to install. Cables and utility pipes are able to be easily fitted inside and the path is designed to drain off rainwater.

Dutch cycle path

The joint venture between the Dutch engineers KWS, the oil and gas conglomerate Total, and pipe-makers Wavin, was opened this week in Zwolle, in the north-east of the Netherlands. A second path is to be installed in Giethoorn in Overijssel, and Rotterdam is the city most likely to take up the technology.

It is believed that many of the benefits of the paths will apply to plastic roads. The path’s inventors, Anne Koudstall and Simon Jorritsma, said, “This first pilot is a big step towards a sustainable and future-proof road made of recycled plastic waste. When we invented the concept, we didn’t know how to build a plastic road, now we know.”

Asphalt concretes is responsible for 1.5m tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, equivalent to 2% of global road transport emissions.

When first announcing the concept in 2015, Jorritsma said, “You see a bottle: we see a road.”

Earlier this year the EU launched an urgent plan to clean up Europe’s act on plastic waste and ensure thae every piece of packaging on the continent is reusable or recyclable by 2030.

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