For sustainable society


The world’s first road made of recycled plastic waste

According to a report on US journal Science, 8.3 billion tons of plastics were produced between 1950 and 2017, of which 6.3 billion tons, or 76%, were discarded as garbage. Only 9 percent was recycled. As you know, plastic waste has become one of the severe issues in recent years since they are dumped into the sea and become a cause of ocean pollution.

Plastics have been recycled in various ways so far, but a new approach of “making them into the road” is being carried out in the Netherlands. In Zwolle and Giethoorn in Overijssel Province, east part of Netherlands, a demonstration experiment of bike path based on recycled plastics are being conducted. In September 2018, the world’s first 30-meter road made of plastics was opened in Zwolle, which is followed by Giethoorn, known as Venice of the Netherlands, in November.

“PlasticRoad” that was developed by VolkerWessels, a construction company in the Netherlands, was constructed in a completely different way from the traditional way of constructing roads by paving with asphalt. Amazingly, the PlasticRoad is manufactured in a factory. The manufactured PlasticRoad is carried to the site, and the state during assembly looks like a LEGO block. Due to the lightweight and the modular design, construction time is about 30% of the asphalt pavement. Of course, during construction, there is no abnormal odor like asphalt paving work.

The road has a hollow structure, and electric wires and cables can be passed through the space under the road. In addition, it is also used as a drainage ditch in the country, in which most of the land is less than 1 meter above sea level. The PlasticRoad is almost 100% made from recycled plastics, but its lifetime is two to three times as long as that of asphalt. Even if it is damaged or deteriorated, simply replace the relevant part to complete the work, and the roads that are no longer used will be recycled again. There is a plan to use modular roads as motor vehicle roads in the future. The road may facilitate more reuse of plastics.