Environment

Dutch cyclists can now ride down a recycled plastic bike path

Dutch cyclists can now ride do...
PlasticRoad inventors Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma take a ride down the 30 meter stretch of the PlasticRoad bike path
PlasticRoad inventors Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma take a ride down the 30 meter stretch of the PlasticRoad bike path
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The Proof of concept pilot PlasticRoad cycle path was officially opened to users young and old on September 11, 2018
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The Proof of concept pilot PlasticRoad cycle path was officially opened to users young and old on September 11, 2018
Sensors have been placed in the area to monitor use and performance of the PlasticRoad bike path
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Sensors have been placed in the area to monitor use and performance of the PlasticRoad bike path
PlasticRoad inventors Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma take a ride down the 30 meter stretch of the PlasticRoad bike path
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PlasticRoad inventors Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma take a ride down the 30 meter stretch of the PlasticRoad bike path
Representatives of PlasticRoad partners get ready to test the new bike path
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Representatives of PlasticRoad partners get ready to test the new bike path
The PlasticRoad concept sees modular blocks made from 100 percent recycled plastic replacing traditional road surface materials such as asphalt
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The PlasticRoad concept sees modular blocks made from 100 percent recycled plastic replacing traditional road surface materials such as asphalt
Under the surface of the PlasticRoad bike path, there's space for pipes and cables and enough room to temporarily store water in the event of heavy rainfall
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Under the surface of the PlasticRoad bike path, there's space for pipes and cables and enough room to temporarily store water in the event of heavy rainfall

When it comes to recycling plastic waste, the Dutch are a pretty inventive bunch. We've seen office furniture fashioned from waste recovered from Amsterdam's canals by folks in boats made from plastic trash, street furniture made from the stuff in the capital too, and household waste recycled into a temporary pavilion for Dutch Design Week. Now the first cycle path constructed using recycled plastic has opened in the municipality of Zwolle in the northeastern Netherlands.

The PlasticRoad concept is the brainchild of Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma from engineering firm KWS, who first sketched an outline in 2013. But it wasn't until 2016 that KWS partnered with pipe manufacturer Wavin and oil/gas giant Total to move the project forward.

On September 11, a two-lane bike path made using recycled plastic was opened to cyclists. It's 30 meters (100 ft) long and runs between Lindestraat and Verenigingstraat in Zwolle and is said to contain the equivalent of 218,000 plastic cups or 500,000 plastic bottle caps. The collaboration does admit that the pilot bike path doesn't use 100 percent recycled plastic, but that's the eventual aim of the project.

Under the surface of the PlasticRoad bike path, there's space for pipes and cables and enough room to temporarily store water in the event of heavy rainfall
Under the surface of the PlasticRoad bike path, there's space for pipes and cables and enough room to temporarily store water in the event of heavy rainfall

The PlasticRoad comes in prefabricated modular blocks that are reported lightweight and easy to install with space underneath already in place for pipes and cables. The design allows water to drain away quickly, with the facility to temporarily store run-off under the surface in times of heavy rainfall.

The designers expect the PlasticRoad structure to last three times longer than traditional road surfaces, though this remains to be seen, and it's projected that the surface won't suffer from cracks and potholes. It's created to be circular too, which means that the plastic could be recycled at the end of its operational life.

In order to collect data on how it's performing, sensors have been installed in the area to monitor such things as temperature, the number of cyclists who ride on the PlasticRoad surface and the durability of the bike path.

Representatives of PlasticRoad partners get ready to test the new bike path
Representatives of PlasticRoad partners get ready to test the new bike path

With the first pilot bike path now open to cyclists, another is already planned for Giethoorn, Overijssel, in November. Data from both pilots will inform future projects, which may include expansion to residential streets, through roads, provincial roads and highways. A brief look at the new bike path can be seen in the video below.

Source: PlasticRoad

How it is made: world's first PlasticRoad bike path out of recycled plastic

1 comment
MD
Well 30m is a start. Possibly more suited to a cycleway than a freeway. Notice Cycleways last a long time. Any potholes which form on the solid surface of a cycleway are present due to lack of maintenance or poor construction, not traffic wear... The low loading of a cycleway (where many of the bikes use low pressure tyres) is much "friendlier" to the materials than that of heavy trucks and fast cars. (90-100PSI tyre pressures vs 30-50psi - yes some bicycles do have higher pressures) Cost effective ?? probably not, even if the raw materials were "free".