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COULD PLASTIC ROADS BE THE FUTURE?

Plastic is coming back to bite us

It is no longer news that the world has a huge plastic problem. Every year we send about 8 million tonnes of plastic into our oceans. This plastic breaks down into microplastics which is ingested by sea life and later by sea food eaters. Studies show that microplastic can be absorbed into the bloodstream posing a threat to human health. Currently, plastic can be found in 1 in 4 fish. If nothing drastic is done, then there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by the year 2050.

The Plastic Road Concept

An innovative company called PlasticRoad is on a mission to help tackle the global plastic problem. Apart from its environmental benefits through the use of waste plastic, this concept offers a host of other benefits and advantages over traditional road construction materials and methods.

PlasticRoad is an innovative and sustainable concept that allows circular reuse. Photo Credit: PlasticRoad

The PlasticRoad is a road based on recycled plastic. It is prefabricated and features a hollow space that can be used for various purposes. This includes water storage, transit of cables and pipes, heating roads, generating energy etc. The PlasticRoad elements allow for circular reuse.

Below is its concept:

Prefabricated and modular

The PlasticRoad concept consists of a prefabricated, modular and hollow road structure based on (recycled) plastics. The prefabricated production, the light weight and the modular design of the PlasticRoad make construction and maintenance faster, simpler and more efficient compared to traditional road structures.

Hollow design

The has a hollow space that can be used to (temporarily) store water, thus preventing flooding during extreme precipitation. The hollow space can also be used for the transit of cables and pipes, thus preventing excavation damages. And there are numerous other conceivable applications, including the installation of sensors or the electric charging of vehicles.

The PlasticRoad innovative concept is built upon solid engineering, research and testing. Photo Credit: PlasticRoad

Sustainable

The PlasticRoad is a completely circular product that is based on recycled plastics. It has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than traditional road structures thanks to the longer lifespan and the reduction of transport movements involved in its construction.

As a result of its unique and innovative design and concept, PlasticRoad will also offer the following:

3x LONGER The expected lifetime of the PlasticRoad is two to three times as long as that of traditional road paving.  
70% FASTER The expected construction time of a new road will be reduced by approximately 70%.  
4x LIGHTER The PlasticRoad is four times as light as a traditional road structure.  
100% CIRCULAR The PlasticRoad is 100% circular and is made from recycled plastic as much as possible.  
PlasticRoad lasts longer, saves time, is lighter and is made from recycled plastic. Photo Credit: Plastic Road

Major Advanatges of PlasticRoad

  • A lightweight prefabricated construction
  • Faster construction (months shorter) and less maintenance time
  • Higher quality and a longer lifespan (homogeneous and prefabricated)
  • Little to no maintenance required. The material is virtually impervious to conditions such as the weather and weeds.
  • The innovation is considerably more sustainable. The goal is to make the PlasticRoad out of 100% recycled plastic and to make it fully reusable. It is perfectly in line with the Cradle to Cradle philosophy and the principles of the circular economy.
  • Double use of space. The hollow space in the design can be used to store water or as space for cables and pipes.
  • The possibility of constant (traffic) safety and water drainage
  • Everything on and around the road can be prefabricated (road markings, guardrails)
  • The concept offers opportunities for further innovation. Examples include solar heated roads, light poles and traffic loop sensors.
  • Contribution to the social problem of plastic waste

PlasticRoad Pilots

Three partners: KWS, a Royal VolkerWessels company, Wavin and Total worked together on the development of the plastic Road. Each of the three companies contribute its own expertise and experience to the development of this innovative concept.

PlasticRoad is already in use in the Netherlands. Photo Credit: PlasticRoad

The PlasticRoad partners successfully launched the first PlasticRoad in the world on September 11th 2018. It is a bike path of 30 meters in Zwolle in the Netherlands. The second pilot was implemented in Giethoorn also in the Netherlands.

“We are proud to present the first pilot in Zwolle in September. With KWS, Wavin and Total, we now have a vast pool of knowledge, experience and resources, and can take concrete steps in the development of PlasticRoad.”

Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma
The inventors of PlasticRoad

The combined demand for innovative and sustainable solutions to the plastic pollution problem, and increasingly stringent requirements for road construction make a strong case for the adoption and use of the PlasticRoad concept. With the demand for more functionality, longer lifespan, shorter construction and maintenance time, higher noise reductions and cost competitiveness, it is time for the future of road.

Could PlasticRoad be the future? Photo Credit: PlasticRoad

The combination of its longer lifespan, use of recycled materials, easy light weight construction, reduced transportation and therefore the reduced carbon footprint make PlasticRoad a highly sustainable alternative to traditional road structures.

We see the future in PlasticRoads.

What future do you see for our roads?

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