As usual Netherlands is ‘paving the way’ for a sustainable future, but this time, literally, with plans to start testing a new type of roads that are pre-made from recycled plastic. Plastic recycles or waste found in the ocean will be transformed into plastic tiles created by KWS Infra. This new innovation is called “PlasticRoad” and transitioning from concrete would benefit the environment in a number of ways.
To start with, asphalt is oil-based and is damaging to the environment because of its carbon emissions. Not only would these emissions be avoided, but plastics that are currently finding their resting places in inappropriate locations like land-fills and oceans where they disturb ecosystems.
NBC News shares that these Plastic roads could be much more durable, potentially lasting as much as three times longer than conventional asphalt roads and would be able to withstand temperatures from -40-176 degree Fahrenheit.
The roadways sections would be prefabricated in construction factories and then relocated to construction sites where they would snap together- kind of like Lego pieces. The construction and engineering company states that the roads are not only more friendly to environment, but they would be an easier to repair system because broken or damaged sections could simply be snapped out of place and removed and a new section could be inserted in its place.
Rotterdam, Netherland is exploring the possibility of implementing this progressive road innovation and is planning to put the plastic road sections to the test in a ‘street lab’ demonstration experiment which they plan on facilitating some time before 2018. This way they can see firsthand how well the plastic road section work in action.
Though plastic roads could raise other concerns once they are in place since plastics seem like an even less natural material than asphalt, this has yet to be seen. The idea, however, that ocean plastics and the ever-growing glut of recycled plastics overwhelming the planet will be used to create something that society is already utilizing, and that it will be less detrimental than our current model is certainly promising and exciting.