The Netherlands could become the first country to pave its streets with plastic bottles after Rotterdam city council said it was considering piloting a new type of road surface touted by its creators as a greener alternative to asphalt.
The first country to pave its streets with plastic bottles
The construction firm VolkerWessels unveiled plans on Friday for a surface made entirely from recycled plastic, which it said required less maintenance than asphalt and could withstand greater extremes of temperature– between -40C and 80C. Roads could be laid in a matter of weeks rather than months and last about three times as long, it claimed.
The company said the environmental argument was also strong as asphalt is responsible for 1.6m tons of CO2 emissions a year globally – 2% of all road transport emissions.
The environmental argument was also strong as asphalt is responsible for […] 2% of all road transport emissions
Rolf Mars, the director of VolkerWessels’ roads subdivision, KWS Infra, said: “Plastic offers all kinds of advantages compared to current road construction, both in laying the roads and maintenance.”
The plastic roads are lighter, reducing the load on the ground, and hollow, making it easier to install cables and utility pipelines below the surface.
Sections can be prefabricated in a factory and transported to where they are needed, reducing on-site construction, while the shorter construction time and low maintenance will mean less congestion caused by roadworks. Lighter materials can also be transported more efficiently.
The company hopes to be able to put down the first fully recycled thoroughfare within three years
Mars said the PlasticRoad project was still at the conceptual stage, but the company hopes to be able to put down the first fully recycled thoroughfare within three years. Rotterdam, a keen supporter of sustainable technology, has already signalled its interest in running a trial.
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Photo credits: © VolkerWessel