When it comes to sustainability, the Netherlands has always been at the forefront. In recent news, Zwolle, one of the country’s “greenest cities,” implemented the world’s first bicycle lane composed of post-consumer waste that would normally be discarded or incinerated.
To create the material, Zwolle used old, plastic bottles, festival beer cups, cosmetic packaging, and plastic furniture. Still, in the pilot phase, the bike path contains 70% recycled plastic in its 30-meter pathway. Although, the city hopes to create a bike path made entirely of recycled plastic in the future.
Although innovative, this is not a unique project. There has been asphalt made of recycled plastic that is 60% tougher than the traditional material. However, what differentiates this bike lane is that it was created with pre-fabricated and lightweight modular parts; thus, it can be installed anywhere in the world in a few days.
Other benefits of the plastic bike lane include storing rainwater, which can help prevent flooding. Also, if the material wears out, it can be recycled continuing the cyclic shelf life.
Named “PlasticRoad,” the bike path is the result of a partnership between the company Wavin, which developed the technology, the plastic tube company Mexichem, KWS, and Total energy company.
In the first iteration, sensors measured road performance, temperature, and durability. A second version is due to be installed in November in a town near Zwolle. “In November, a second pilot bike lane will be installed and will test additional PlasticRoad features. With this second project, the results from both will generate enough insights to apply and refine the technology. Meanwhile, partners are looking for new locations to launch the next pilots – to test other applications from PlasticRoad, such as parking lots, train platforms, and sidewalks,” Wavin said in a statement.