In a world first, a bicycle lane composed of post-consumer waste called the PlasticRoad has been implemented in the Netherlands, offering a modular, prefabricated path solution that can be adapted to any landscape.
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 its pilot phase, the bike path currently contains 70 percent recycled plastic along its 30-metre 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 percent tougher than the traditional material. However, what differentiates this particular bike lane project is that it was created with prefabricated 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 the ability to store rainwater, which can help prevent flooding. Also, if the material wears out, it can be recycled to continue the cyclic shelf life.
Named PlasticRoad, the bike path is the result of a partnership between the company Wavin – who 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,” said Wavin in a statement. “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.”