A stretch of a new bike path in the Dutch city of Zwolle looks like it’s made of red asphalt. But the path is the first experiment in building a road from recycled plastic. “We used post-consumer waste that otherwise would be dumped or incinerated,” says Gert-Jan Maasdam, a director of technology at Wavin, a subsidiary of the plastic piping company Mexichem, which built the path in collaboration with the engineering company KWS and the energy company Total, as the first pilot in a project called PlasticRoad . The design is a way to make use of plastic that typically has little value, like old plastic bottles, beer cups from festivals, cosmetic packaging, and plastic furniture. (The pilot uses 70% recycled plastic, though future designs will use 100% recycled plastic.) But it also may be a better way to build a bike path or road. [Photo: KWS/Total and Wavin] The design’s modular pieces are prefabricated and lightweight, making them easy to move and fast to install. The project partners say that a full road that might take months to build using traditional methods could be installed in days. The plastic, which is weather resistant, should last two to three […]

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