Europe: Dutch firm will transform plastic waste into… roads image

A small company coming from the Netherlands is seeking to transform the way roads are being built – taking prefabricated material made out of recycled plastic and using it as a substitute for conventional asphalt and concrete.

The construction company KWS Infra is being taken seriously by the Dutch city of Rotterdam, which aims to make use of the green material in a test “street lab” project designed to test if the idea would hold against the daily grind of traffic. Called PlasticRoad, the materials are supposed to outlive conventional pavement by as much as three times and also cope with a range of temperatures between -40 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. According to KWS Infra, part of a Dutch construction and engineering company, the PlasticRoad would be especially “ideal for poorer soil” – which is usually found in the Netherlands – known for swiftly breaking conventional pavement. The material would have some green credentials as well, such as eliminating roadside emission associated with laying down traditional asphalt.

Those who favor the idea say there would be ample plastic resources available, from recycled water and soft drink bottles to the massive amount of plastic waste now destroying our oceans. According to the concept, Lego-like prefabricated segments would be delivered to the construction site and assembled faster than what current road construction methods can achieve. Future repairs or changes to the road’s design could be easily handled – simply by swapping the old segments for new ones. And each segment would be hollow, allowing for a range of wires, pipes and drainage to be introduced throughout.