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Path of plastic: Netherlands unveils first bike path made entirely of recycled plastics

Joe Robinson
13 Sep 2018

Recycled 30-metre path made entirely of plastic could be future for road construction

The Netherlands has opened its first ever bike path made entirely from recycled plastic, further proving themselves to be light years ahead of the UK in regards to cycling infrastructure. 

The 30m path in Zwolle has been constructed from recycled bottles, cups and packaging as a pilot of a joint project between Dutch engineering firm KWS, pipe manufacturers Wavin and oil giants Total. If successful, the resourceful scheme could be expanded across the country.

According to The Guardian, the path used the equivalent of 218,000 plastic cups in its construction with the result having three times the durability of your usual asphalt surfaces.

Being made of plastic, the road surface is also light enough to be transportable and easy to install. The path will contain sensors to monitor how frequently it is used, rates of traffic and the temperature of the surface.

Following the pilot project in Zwolle, it is expected that Giethoorn will also have a path installed while major city Rotterdam is also likely to trial the technology. 

Anne Koustaal and Simon Jorritsma, the brains behind this innovative technology, commented on the journey of taking an idea through to completion.

'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.'

This alternative solution to road surfacing could be part of the solution to the current worldwide issue of CO2 emissions. Stats show that asphalt concrete is responsible for 2% of global road emissions.  

However, don't hold your breath if you are a British cyclist with a particular interest in environmentally friendly transport solutions.

While the Dutch government endorses innovative ideas that promote healthy and clean forms of transport, our own lags behind. 

Recently, an OVO Energy study showed that 20% of workers would be more likely to purchase an e-bike if they were covered by the Cycle-to-Work scheme.

However, while the Government offers lucrative grants for electric cars, no such scheme exists for e-bikes. Overall journeys for cycling trips is also down by 8% from 2012 to 2017 while 64% of motorists consider cycling in traffic 'too dangerous'.

Image credit: Gemeente Zwolle 

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