Out of all the disposable substances we human beings use, the one that probably causes the most issues for our environment is plastic. Though considered something that can be recycled and reused, the fact that plastic in general is not biodegradable (or takes a very long time to biodegrade) has been a bane for the cleanliness of our environment.
However, recycled plastic can truly be beneficial to mankind outside of remaking drinking bottles. For example, Richart Sowa reused 150,000 plastic bottles to build his home, a floating island known as Spiral Island. That was one of the most interesting ways plastic was recycled and now it is being innovated again. This time, its being used to build something most modernized countries use: roads. In Netherlands, they are planning on becoming the first country to pave their roads using recycled plastic.
According to The Mind Unleashed, Dutch company VolkerWessels has come up with the idea to pave roads with plastic bottles instead of asphalt. They hope to implement their plan quickly so the Dutch city of Rotterdam will see roads with surfaces made of plastic within three years.
To the green community, this is such a fantastic idea given the fact asphalt and plastic are harmful to the environment. Every ton of asphalt made emits 27 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Annually, that is 1.45 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. As for plastic, tons of it tends to pollute through overloading both our land and seas.
Plastic roads can surely cut down on both aforementioned forms of pollution. However, it also cost-efficient. Peaceful Century reports there will be no need for on-site construction that usually block lanes of traffic, requires a number of staff, and take numerous man hours to complete. Instead, sections of plastic roads can be manufactured in a factory than transported for assembly on site.
As mentioned earlier, the project is hoped to be implemented in Rotterdam within three years, but for now it is still on paper, as detailed by Rolf Mars of VolkerWessels to The Guardian.
“It’s still an idea on paper at the moment; the next stage is to build it and test it in a laboratory to make sure it’s safe in wet and slippery conditions and so on. We’re looking for partners who want to collaborate on a pilot – as well as manufacturers in the plastics industry, we’re thinking of the recycling sector, universities and other knowledge institutions.”
Also, Rolf Mars included that the plastic roads have the potential for future innovations like heated roads and ultra-quiet surfaces. Mars also claims Rotterdam is the place that will be able to experience these innovations first-hand since it is a city that is very accepting of green innovation.
“Rotterdam is a very innovative city and has embraced the idea. It fits very well within its sustainability policy and it has said it is keen to work on a pilot.”
[Image via VolkerWessels]