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Dutch Firm Paves Roads with Recycled Plastics


road1.jpg.662x0_q70_crop-scaleDutch engineers have found an eco-friendly substitute for asphalt used for road construction, which could come as quite a surprise- the hero is, recycled plastics.

Quite a number of innovative eco-friendly ideas have come from Dutch designers and engineers over the past year. Solar bike path, and illuminating road paint, are just some of the examples, and it seems we are far from having seen them all.

The latest comes from a Dutch construction firm VolkerWessels. They decided that it is about the right time to put an end on asphalt production, which generates huge amounts of CO2, and asphalt use, the main cause for urban heat islands, while tackling another major problem at the same time- that of plastic pollution.

The idea of the guys from VolkerWessels, is to replace asphalt with recycled plastics in road construction. They believe that plastic roads will not only be way more eco-friendly, but also they will be light, easy to transport, and much easier to manage when it comes to fitting cables and pipes under them.

In addition, the roads will be constructed in a factory and only transported to the desired location, reducing on-site work, and consequently massive and long-lasting traffic congestion due to construction works. The guys behind the idea also ensure the non-believers that the material will be able to withstand extreme temperatures, between -40 and 80C.

The pilot project called PlasticRoad will be done in Rotterdam, and it is fully supported and encouraged by the city council. The project is still in its conceptual phase, but it is likely that visitors and citizens of the Dutch city will be able to see it working in the coming three years.

It is refreshing to see that people are finding much more and more interesting ways to address different issues that impact our environment in a practical and green way. This is especially the case when it comes to creating green road infrastructure, and handling plastic pollution, and the Dutch seems to be handling both very well.

I still have the image of the waiting lounge of Amstedam Schiphol Airport, where there was a kids feeding chair with a big sign on it “I used to be plastic bottles”. Why not see this same sign on a road pavement?

Image (c) VolkerWessels

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  1. the illustration is wildly naive. Those pipes need to be much deeper to avoid freezing, and what is the advantage of placing them under the roadway? If you’re redesigning the roadway from scratch then put them off to the side, much deeper. There is no advantage to making the roads hollow, either. That simply weakens them.
    Isn’t glass a better material for this rather than plastic?


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