First bike path made from recycled plastic – end of the road for asphalt and concrete? An annotated infographic


An experimental bicycle track made from recycled plastic has opened in the Netherlands as part of a project that could lead to more sustainable roads being rolled out across the country.

The 30m test track in the town of Zwolle is made from 70 per cent recycled plastic and the rest from polypropylene, according to an article by The Economist.

It will be used to test a product called PlasticRoad, which is being developed by Dutch firms KWS and Wavin, in partnership with French energy giant Total. A second pilot cycleway is being built in the nearby town of Giethoorn.

PlasticRoad is prefabricated in a factory as modular sections. The sections are then transported to the site and laid end to end on a suitable foundation, such as sand.

Prefabricated plastic roads should last up to three times longer than conventional roads and cost less, the companies claim, mainly because construction times would be reduced by almost two-thirds.

Could this spell the end of the road for asphalt and concrete? E&T recently looked at PlasticRoad and four other contenders looking to unsettle (break up?) the traditional road-surfacing materials, asphalt and concrete. Could this ubiquitous but pricey and unsustainable duo finally be overtaken as they near the end of their journey?

PlasticRoad trial
PlasticRoad trial


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