A Dutch construction firm, VolkerWessels is hoping to create a shift in the material used to pave roads using recycled plastic as a new form of roadbed.
There are several design advantages to “plastic roads”, they are lighter and sections can be pre-made reducing building time and traffic disruptions.
The material is set to be tested in Rotterdam, where important questions will need to be answered, specifically around a plastic road surface’s durability in changing weather conditions and under the pressure of high daily traffic volumes.
There are some long-term limitations to a material stream that relies upon plastic waste and this doesn’t resolve the issue of petro-based plastics being difficult to recycle and re-use effectively in the economy in the long-term – it just adds an additional cycle.
However, there’s more than enough plastic wasted and VolkerWessels are convinced that they have identified a better alternative to asphalt. It could prove to be a valuable innovation for the city of Rotterdam.
The pilot project called PlasticRoad will be done in Rotterdam, and it is fully supported and encouraged by the city council. The project is still in its conceptual phase, but it is likely that visitors and citizens of the Dutch city will be able to see it working in the coming three years.