Our oceans are choking from the amount of plastic that has worked it way into its water. While solutions like reusable straws and recycling plastic bags, or banning them outright, have certainly taken hold, the world is still struggling to come up with a long term solution to stop plastic pollution.
PlasticRoad is on a mission is to make the first road that consists of 100 percent recycled plastic taken from the ocean. A bike path created by the company premiered in the Netherlands in Zwolle, Overijssel in September, adding a little twist to a typical commute. The path, 30 meters long, also contains an empty space under its surface for storage, pipes, heating and more. Water can also be stored under the surface, which can help areas where flooding from poor drainage can be an issue.
The 'plastic road' to success hasn't been an easy one. The team had to test a number of details, including how to best use the plastic in a way that would support bicycles riding over it. PlasticRoad also ran an environmental impact test to make sure recycling the plastic, and creating a product this way, would actually be beneficial and not create additional harm to the environment.
The group claims that each plastic-based road reduces the need for the two to three layers of asphalt traditionally placed to build a road, as the plastic material can be laid directly on top of sand in new smart cities.
KWS, the Dutch construction company, first came up with the PlasticRoad idea, looking for new ways to maintain regular roads: plastic seemed like an interesting step. It turned to Wavin, a firm focused on plastic pipe systems and water management. Total, an international oil and gas company, was also tapped and the three partnered together, launching PlasticRoad.
The new plastic-based roadway is expected to last three times longer than traditional roads, is 70 percent faster to install, and is four times lighter, and a second path is being built, which is expected to open by the end of 2018. PlasticRoad certainly hopes to make a dent in the environmental situation plaguing our oceans, one bike path at a time.