Netherlands puts recycled plastic to path-breaking use

The city of Zwolle in Netherlands opened a 100 foot (30 meter) bike path made of recycled plastic. The country is known for its bike friendly streets and Zwolle has taken it a step further by using plastic equivalent to about 5 lakh plastic bottle cap to build the path.

The path is not 100% recycled plastic, but ‘PlasticRoad’, the group that created it, hopes future paths and roads will be.

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PlasticRoad claims their way of making roads is better in many ways as compared to asphalt roads, which creates a lot of pollution. Making those roads uses up a lot of energy as asphalt is heavy to move and must be heated when making a road.

The ‘plastic’ roads are manufactured in pieces in a factory where all the pieces are identical. They are easy to move around as the sections of the plastic road are light.


A special truck drives along and lays down the pieces much like putting bricks in a sidewalk, to construct the road. This process is much faster than the one where asphalt is used to build the road.

Repairing a broken road is also easier as the damaged section is taken out and replaced. The broken section can then be recycled once more and turned into a road again. The plastic roads are hollow underneath, allowing rainwater to flow away, instead of flooding the street. The hollow area also makes it easy to run pipes or cables under the road.

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The plastic roads are hollow underneath, allowing rainwater to flow away, instead of flooding the street. The hollow area also makes it easy to run pipes or cables under the road.


PlasticRoad is a project created by three companies. One company creates roads and buildings, another makes plastic pipes, and the third is a big oil company.
The inventors, Simon Jorritsma and Anne Koudstaal, said that when they first had the idea, ‘we didn’t know how to build a plastic road. Now we know.’

The company treats this as an experiment and wishes to find the problems so they know how to make it better. They have put special sensors in the path to collect information. For instance, the sensors will record the temperature, how many people have ridden on the path, and how much weight goes across the path, etc.

 

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